Bringing world class art to our living rooms

Andrew Mezei Unimpeachable Pillars, 2008. Oil on linen. 61cm by 102cm. Gippsland Art Gallery collection. Bought with the assistance of the Gippsland Art Gallery Society, 2008.
Andrew Mezei Unimpeachable Pillars, 2008. Oil on linen. 61cm by 102cm. Gippsland Art Gallery collection. Bought with the assistance of the Gippsland Art Gallery Society, 2008.

GIPPSLAND Art Gallery will soon launch an exciting new online platform to bring the entire 2240-piece collection to people's homes, all over the world.

Gallery director Simon Gregg said he was thrilled to still enable visitation during social distancing requirements, by making the gallery accessible online.

The gallery's collection, which has been growing since 1965, features paintings, prints, works on paper, sculpture, woodwork, textile, ceramics, metalwork, glass, photography and mixed media.

Informed by the theme 'Gippsland and the Natural Environment', the permanent collection tells the story of art in the region.

Mr Gregg said the project to take the collection online was something the gallery had long dreamt of.

"Because art is unique, we have things here at the gallery that don't exist anywhere else in the world, and there is a huge international interest in that," he said.

"We have always wanted to do this - to expand our reach and show Gippsland art to a wider audience."

The gallery has recently recorded some of its highest online visitations, despite only 100 of the "highlights" being available online until the entire catalogue is uploaded.

"We can track online visitation, which shows more than 60,000 engagements since the gallery closed on March 23, compared to our usual physical gallery visits of around 6000 for the same period," he said.

A new 'Gallery at Home' web page also enables visitors to tour the gallery from home.

To capture the collection, Mr Gregg and some artists, including popular local exhibitor Annemieke Mein, walked around the gallery with a special camera on a stick to give viewers a 360 degree "tour" with an accompanying narration on each piece.

"The viewer can see everything we have here at the gallery and learn about the pieces - just like they were here themselves," Mr Gregg said.

There are many treasures to discover in the gallery's collection, including Alan Sumner's Captive Horses.

Sumner (1911-1994) was a key artist in Australia's mid-century Modernist movement, who aside from painting, worked as a printmaker and a stained-glass window artist.

The full online catalogue is expected to be completed over the next week, and people are advised to watch the gallery's Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.

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