Art Curator, Art Expert, Emilya Colliver, VANDAL Gallery

'The Australian Art Curator Blog' - Digital Galleries vs Bricks & Mortar

Recently, Art Pharmacy has dipped its toes into the non-cyber art realm through the acquisition of a permanent, physical space in Redfern. In collaboration with VANDAL, we’ve launched this new gallery where we can display local artists.

Moving to a physical space is a big move for us, considering that we’ve always aimed to be a platform that creates easy access to art through our online gallery. However, it's undeniable that a physical and a digital space fulfils different needs for patrons and artists.

Our new gallery space

Our new gallery space

The main differences between physical and digital? Well, like I said the big one is accessibility. Unlike a traditional gallery, which requires exhibitions to run for a certain period of time, online artists can display new works as they create them.

This can be particularly useful for emerging artists, who are still experimenting with different styles. By displaying their work online there is less pressure to create a coherent collection, and I have found that this gives artists the freedom to experiment with a variety of different styles and ideas. Imagine if you as an art buyer had access through Instagram to the prelim sketches and ideas of the pre-internet artists of the 20th century!

Art Pharmacy artist Isabella Antonievich at work.

Art Pharmacy artist Isabella Antonievich at work.

It also alleviates artists of the pressure to create the substantial number of works, which are required for a traditional exhibition, as they have the freedom to explore other professions. I represent artists who are also graphic designers, advertising executives, librarians, muralists and more!

It cannot be understated what a big plus this is for today's’ emerging artists. Having another form of income can be extremely liberating for artists - especially at the start of their careers when it’s difficult to find the funds to make art your full time profession. This can be helpful for consumers too - decentralising the selling artworks is particularly useful for young professionals, who are often looking to start an art collection but often don’t have the time to visit galleries.

At our VIP launch party

At our VIP launch party

However, it's undeniable that the physical world is a great complement to the digital one. The internet is like the moon - great to visit but you wouldn't necessarily want to live there, as the social opportunities are a little limited.

For example, our first exhibition that features the works of rainbow warrior and superstar artist Sarah Beetson, has colourfully enlivened a space and sparked imagination with works, people, laughter and mingling. Patrons are happy to come see the works; then go away, mull over what they saw and perhaps purchase later online. Artists get realtime feedback on their work and great social connections.

In the future, we hope to take advantage of the wonderful network of artists we’ve fostered online to host a buzzing gallery, that feeds off the in the moment feel of the online with the tangibility of the physical. This month, we’ll be hosting the first of, hopefully many, artist talks. Our artist liaison, Maddie Lesjak-Aton and artist, Gabby Malpas, will be talking about making the most out of their online presence, and enhancing their artistic practise.

Sarah Beetson's current exhibition 'Rainbow Warriors'

Sarah Beetson's current exhibition 'Rainbow Warriors'

Ultimately, it's both the online and physical gallery that can create platforms for artists and consumers of art to see and get artworks. The real and the digital paired together creates a diverse, unique and interesting group of artists - and what more could you want than that?

VANDAL Gallery is open Monday - Friday from 10am-5pm.

Our online gallery is open 24 hours, 7 days a week and can be found here

Discover more about VANDAL here