Stills Gallery to close its curtains

After 25 years of showcasing contemporary photography in Sydney, Stills Gallery will close its doors and ‘cease operations in its current form’.

By The Way, by Pat Brassington, who will have her work featured at Stills’ final exhibition.

But it will go out with a bang. Over 60 artists who had work hung on the gallery walls will feature in the final exhibition, Curtain Call, running from May 24 – June 30.

Directors Kathy Freedman and Bronwyn Rennex released a joint statement announcing the long and hard decision to close Stills, indicating the gallery space will remain but a new entity will occupy and reshape it.

Since Stills opened its doors in 1991 to dedicate a space to contemporary photography, the industry has undergone significant technological change which has challenged everyone working in it.

The directors painted a brief history of the gallery’s beginnings and the expansion that followed.

‘(When it opened) founder and co-director, Kathy Freedman announced “there’s a lot of very important and exciting work being done at present using photographic images. Stills will be providing the opportunity for people to see a wide range of current work”. From these small beginnings – a roomsheet created on a typewriter and black & white prints selling for around $200 – Stills Gallery has shifted and evolved to keep up with changes in the way we produce, enjoy and understand photography.

‘These changes have included the move to a large converted warehouse space in 1997, to accommodate the larger works being produced by artists, and the handing over of the baton from early co-director Sandy Edwards to current co-director, Bronwyn Rennex along the way. 

‘We are really proud of the artists we have worked with and the exhibitions we have mounted over the years. It has been a privilege to work with such a diverse range of talented artists. And we’ve enjoyed sharing their works with the world – whether in Paddington or Paris, William Street or Waterloo. We’ve also enjoyed the artworks themselves – looking at them (in the flesh), thinking about them, writing and talking about them – and of course selling them. We have relished their power to challenge and move us.’

Curtain Call will look back at this history and features a long list of previous exhibitors, including:

Paul Adair, Lili Amog, Narelle Autio, Juli Balla, Roger Ballen, Gilbert Bel Bachir, Mervyn Bishop, Pat Brassington, Jane Brown, James Bryans, Maureen Burns, Danica Chappell, Christine Cornish, Brenda L Croft, Melita Dahl, Dachi Dang, Huw Davies, Ruby Davies, Ian Dodd, Stephen Dupont, Ella Dreyfus, Michelle Eabry, Jackson Eaton, Sandy Edwards, Peter Elliston, Merilyn Fairskye, Anne Ferran, Chris Fortescue, Lesley Goldacre, Lorrie Graham, Megan Jenkinson, Petrina Hicks, Douglas Holleley, Mark Kimber, Pam Kleeman, Peter Jones, William Lamson, Ian Lever, Jon Lewis, Michael Light, Peter Lyssiotis, Steven Lojewski, Marketa Luskacova, Deb Mansfield, Mary Ellen Mark, Grant Matthews, Ricky Maynard, Peter Milne, Harry Nankin, Anne Noble, Polixeni Papapetrou, Trent Parke, Patrick Pound, Bronwyn Rennex, Jon Rhodes, Michael Riley, George Schwarz, Roger Scott, Rebecca Shanahan, Glenn Sloggett, Georgina Smith, Peter Solness, Van Sowerwine, Robyn Stacey, Suellen Symons, Jenny Templin, David Thomas, Danielle Thompson, Garry Trinh, James Tylor, Stephanie Valentin, Kawita Vatanajyankur, Justine Varga, Beverley Veasey, Wiliam Yang, and Emmaline Zanelli.

The gallery website will be active until 2017. After that it will remain as an exhibition archive.

The future of the gallery space will be revealed later this year.

Curtain Call opens May 24 until June 30. The opening event is Saturday, May 27 from 3 – 5pm. It is free to attend.

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