Ashfield Open Studios

This spacious, two-storey building had been empty for many years before Artsource took on the lease. Sixteen individual studio spaces on five-year leases have been developed in the complex and were filled in only three weeks - a clear demonstration of the constant demand for affordable artist working spaces.

In response to the decline of exhibiting spaces for artists in the metropolitan area, an area of the studios complex was made available for an artist-run-initiative. another Project Space commenced in 2015 and encompasses a gallery space that is used for four to six week onsite artist residencies. The space is a welcome addition to the gallery and artist-run sector and have continued to date with an expanded schedule of events including another Story artist talks.

The in augural Ashfield Open Studios took place in September 2016 and featured artists: Darryn Ansted, Kirsten Biven, Shara Chaffey, Andrew Cross, Giovanni Di Dio, Ayako Goto, Nigel Hewitt, Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Adam Ismail, Rebecca Jensen, Vania Lawson, Sue Leeming, Lucy O'Dea, Perdita Phillips, Vanessa Russ and Laura Williams.

Sue Leeming in her Artsource Ashfield Studio, 2016. Photographer: Christophe CanatoFeatured artist: Sue Leeming 

I have loved having a space away from the home where I can focus fully on developing my work. Balancing studio time with a part-time job and raising four children has been extremely challenging. I have to juggle a self-disciplined, ordered work life with incredible flexibility in the home to cope with the curve balls domestic life throws at me. Having the studio to go to on a regular basis has helped me to shut out all those distractions which come from working from home and be more intentional with what I'm working on.

Although my space is small,  I have been working on a number of large paintings as well as smaller, more intimate pieces that extend ideas of abstraction, landscape and identity. Initially, I was concerned that working in a smaller space would inhibit my work but instead it seems to have forced an intimacy and tension with scale that I haven't experienced previously.

I experiment with the physicality of paint and process and have recently been exploring a more fluid approached allowing the imagery to spring from process. The mark-making, layering and building of the surface becoming equivalent to the images themselves. I'm increasingly interested in plasticity, and a more psychological response to our cultural and physical environments.

My background is printmaking and I do have a particular passion with the medium which I know I will continue to work with at some stage. I've found that my space has informed the direction my work is taking to some degree and that is something I'm very comfortable with.

I emigrated to Australia from New Zealand in the late 90's and have wanted to become an Artsource member for some time but kept procrastinating. For some reason I felt I should wait until I was more established in my practice and exhibiting more regularly. Unfortunately, this was an incredibly isolating decision and over time it became increasingly difficult to keep going with out the support of others. 
The main opportunity is having the space to really focus on re-establishing my arts practice. The affordability of the studios has given me the space to develop this without the pressure of finances. It's very motivating being around mature artists who are highly focused on their own practice. There is a lot of encouragement and interaction without distraction! 

The Artsource Open Studios day for me was beneficial because it forced me to press pause and take a step back and process the viewers engagement with the work whilst knowing that nothing is concrete. It was a glimpse for the curious and yes I would do it again. There were also a number of positive connections with people I look forward to following up.

I found that most people that came into my space seem to really want to engage with the work and were curious to find out more about it. There were many conversations that day in response to the work that will be reflected upon. Art is about communication and a studio open day can only result in an open-ended conversation.


Artsource Open Studios 2016

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Artsource Ashfield Open Studios 2016 Artsource Ashfield Open Studios 2016
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Artsource Ashfield Open Studios 2016 Artsource Ashfield Open Studios 2016