Gallery Profile ⟶ New England Regional Art Museum NERAM (NSW)
Earlier this month Experimenta launched Experimenta Life Forms at the New England Regional Art Museum. We’re so excited to share this show with audiences in north east NSW’s New England High Country on Anaiwan land. We recently chatted with Rachael Parsons, the Art Museum Director at NERAM.
Q: Thanks for having us at NERAM again Rachael! What about the Experimenta Life Forms exhibition do you think will be of most interest to your audiences?
I think in the first instance they will be drawn to the aesthetic experience of Experimenta Life Forms, the lights, sounds, movement, the darkness – it is very different and unfamiliar to the majority of exhibitions that we show at NERAM and it immediately captures your attention in a fully sensorial experience.
I think visitors will be most engaged in trying to unpack and understand the varied and deep conceptual ideas of the artworks, aligning what they are seeing with what they are reading and engaging in the themes of the exhibition. It’s certainly the kind of exhibition to spark curiosity and discussion.
Q: NERAM hosts a number of exhibitions at the same time – tell us about some of the other exciting programs happening over April and May.
I love that at the moment we have such a broad spectrum of artwork to see at NERAM. In Experimenta Life Forms you have this cutting-edge practice at the conjunction of art, science, technology and society. At the same time we have the newly reopened permanent display of the Howard Hinton Collection, Wonders of Hinton, that shows artwork from the 1880s to 1940s and is arguably the only collection of its kind in regional NSW. Through the Eyes of Strangers features three artists, Isabelle Devos, Lois Robertson, and Tanya Chaitow, all responding to the landscape of Central Highlands of Tasmania where they met. Finally, Feed the Soul is group exhibition featuring 19 Australian artists that celebrates the tradition of still life with the central subject of food.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the great group of volunteers that help the museum champion exhibitions like ours?
We simply could not do what we do at NERAM without our army of enthusiastic and highly committed volunteers. They assist the NERAM staff with everything from greeting visitors and various front of house tasks, hanging exhibitions, providing catering and bar services for openings, fundraising, gardening… they make al that we do possible. Our volunteers are also highly active members of our cultural community attending and participating in exhibitions, events and workshops – they are the beating heart of NERAM.
Q: Are there any life forms native to New England High Country that you would like to share with us?
Bell’s turtles are a large (up to 3 kg), freshwater species that live in the west-flowing streams of New England. They rarely leave the water and are very shy animals; when they do come out to bask on rocks or logs, they will dive back into the water at the slightest sign of trouble. Bell’s turtles are listed as an Endangered species in NSW, and as Threatened in QLD, where only a small population lives in Girraween National Park.
At the University of New England, researchers are engaged in ecology projects to conserve the endangered Bell’s turtle. Predators and weather events, particularly flooding, have had a long term effect on the Bell’s turtles population. Program to breed the turtles in captivity and then releasing hatchlings have been successful and other research is looking to establish egg laying sites that are protected from foxes.
Experimenta Life Forms: International Triennial of Media Art explores the changing notions of life by 26 contemporary artists.
Presenting at New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale (NSW) 1 April – 26 May 2023.