In a tiny six-square metre space in Watson, not even large enough to occupy a car, you’ll discover the Gallery of Small Things.
It’s run by Anne Masters, a super busy Canberran, who wears three hats in life. Anne is a practicing artist (ceramics) with a long and established career. She works at the ANU School of Art and Design. And, now, she’s a gallery director.
How did it come to be that Anne transformed the unused 1960s laundry at the back of her garden into a cosy gallery, selling small and affordable art?
“It was almost by chance,” says Anne. “I was taking a marketing course and the convenor challenged us to think big about something we wanted to do. I wrote that I wanted to own a gallery. One day, as I was gazing out of a window in my home my eyes fell upon the laundry at the back of my garden. The light went on and everything fell into place.”
All art exhibited at, and sold through the gallery, is handmade Australian design. “These are bespoke works created by artists who love what they do best,” says Anne. “The brief is that the artworks must be smaller than A3.”
At ANU, Anne manages 100 PhD and MPhil arts students who are higher degree research candidates. She identified a gap in the market for artists who had just left uni but had nowhere to exhibit their work and begin to build their professional profile. “It can be challenging to get into an established gallery,” says Anne. “I wanted to provide a stepping stone for these and other artists and provide a space where people can buy a piece of beautiful, but affordable art. Everything is under $500.”
The Gallery of Small Things, or GOST for short, features artists who work in textiles, ceramics, paintings, photography, jewellery and print media.
GOST works in an unconventional way in the gallery world. Instead of running back-to-back exhibitions, Anne has periodic exhibitions in her tiny 2 metre by 3 metre gallery and in-between, features the work of a stable of 18 artists. Her handpicked stable includes Marilou Chagnaud, an artist and textile designer, Katy Mutton, an interdisciplinary visual artist, Phil Page, a painter, and Julia Pannell, a photographer.
Anne’s own ceramic work, which she creates through AM PM Ceramics, is also showcased. Anne creates porcelain jewellery, small items and decorations. Her work is primarily created from materials made in Australia and the name of her practice reflects how she thinks about ceramics all day and all night.
GOST’s current exhibition, called ‘small in fall’, showcases textile works by Christine Appleby, a recent first-class honours graduate from ANU School of Art and Design. More than 40 pieces are in the exhibition, each celebrating the infinite possibilities of freestyle weaving. Pieces range from $42 to $192 proving that you truly can own beautiful art at affordable prices.
You can visit ‘small in fall’ every day until 10 June.
GOST is located at 27 Wade Street, Watson. It’s open every day during exhibitions, from 11 am to 4 pm, and open Thursday to Sunday at all other times. Free entry. Call 0422 263 533 for further information.
This article is part of a monthly series The Riot Act publishes on the many wonderful things to do around Canberra, for residents and tourists alike.