Controlling his own space
Ron Nyisztor by Andre Lipscombe
Ron Nyisztor (pron. Nistor) is a mid-career artist whose painting practice is framed by a strong design ethos and underpinned by a composite of representational subjects and formal concerns for the material aspects of painting. He often paints on found supports such as cupboard doors and construction materials lifted from rubbish heaps. This approach is linked to his longstanding focus upon the emotive dimension of the still life genre, which has included elements such as builders’ rubble, neon light strips and soap bubbles.
His practice runs deep with the town in which he grew up and the professional support network he has fostered around his studio. While Ron’s painting is a means of carving out an existence in Perth, his practice broadly confounds the model trajectory of many other artists. He has cultivated a successful studio/gallery enterprise that provides for Ron and his branch of creative comrades – artists, collectors, collaborators and curators – both professional and personal sustenance.
Nyisztor Studio has operated a low cost, no frills artist run gallery since 2006, bringing together what Ron terms his ideal studio with a broadening network of supporters through an annual exhibition program of his own making. The continuing impact of the stream of regular and new exhibitors, their art practices and growing audiences are inextricably linked to the health of Nyisztor’s own output and substantive success over the last decade.
The gallery was originally branded Southern Project Studio, with Lance Hyde curating the first exhibition in 2006. They neatly found support within Melville City Council’s mindset to setup a studio/gallery in the disused Melville Library building as part of the established community arts activity in the area. A trim and light 1960’s space with timber floors, requiring minimal refit, offered a perfect low cost opportunity at the time for Ron to “go it alone”.
He understood that occupying a studio space for the long term alongside an exhibition venue might have considerable advantages. Not least, it offset his immediate studio rental costs and could provide a useful network around which a program of exhibitions could intersect. The inclusion of painter Moira de la Hunty (2007) in a second studio in the building enhanced the creative backdrop of the gallery. The associated audience continued to grow with support of senior exhibiting artists in Trevor Richards and others previously linked with Brigitta Braun’s Art Place, such as Michael Doherty, Annette Orr, Peter Wales and Olga Cironis.
An autonomous and flexible role for Ron at the space has provided scope to program exhibitions in keeping with his own idiosyncratic philosophical position. This has directly supported local artists to show new work, as Ron says, “on their own terms”.
“I think the space has generated a lot of goodwill with the community,” says Ron.
Ron has also coordinated group exhibition projects with artists associated with the studio. These have included the annual group show, Pure Contemplation without Knowledge, now in its sixth year and Star, a touring exhibition to Danks Street complex in Sydney and Bunbury Regional Art Galleries (2012). Plans are afoot to participate in the Vienna Art Fair in 2015.
Nyisztor Studio, now secure in its eighth year, continues to run its flexible, low cost model, with an enviable sales record, in which audiences and artists alike, feel comfortable and equally at home.
Andre Lipscombe is an artist based at Artsource Studios Fremantle. He is represented by WA Art Collective and is Curator of the City of Fremantle Art Collection.
This article featured in the Artsource Newsletter, Winter 2014.