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TOURING EXHIBITION SUMMARY Strand Ephemera 2011: Exhibition Summary

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery Tour: 2011-2013 Prepared 7 June 2013 Gallery Services 1


Front Cover: Ron McBurnie White dreaming with a black conscience 1989, from the series A Rake’s Progress, hard ground etching and aquatint, 74 x 50.1 cm, edition of 30 Inside Cover: Ron McBurnie at work in his studio. Photo: Karl Kizur Back Cover: Ron McBurnie Tobias and the Angel 2008 - 2009, from the Romantic series, hard ground etching, 59 x 89.5 cm, edition of 30


Contents Metal As Anything . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Tour Overview. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Growing Townsville’s Arts and Cultural Reputation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Media. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Gallery Services’ Participation Figures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Benefits to Townsville’s Artists. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15


Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary

Metal As Anything

Metal as Anything, a survey exhibition of 30 years of etchings by nationally recognised, Townsville-based printmaker Ron McBurnie, was developed by Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in 2008. The exhibition was held in Townsville from Friday 21 June until 16 August 2009. The exhibition was a look at the quirky side of life, and provided suitable recognition for such a significant local artist. Most striking throughout the exhibition was the artist’s ability to highlight the weird and wonderful events that occur in our ‘mundane’ suburban environment. It is so easy for these fleeting, humorous moments to be lost, buried underneath the drudgery and commitments of our daily grind. McBurnie, unlike most, captures these moments in his own life and ensures they are not misplaced. As Professor Sasha Grishin observed, “McBurnie is a great observer of life and of the inequities and comic oddities which are encountered, these he presents graphically and sometimes humorously for our contemplation…” While McBurnie does have a talent for portraying the bizarre, he attributes it to being inspired by a wide range of sources; “If I am marvelling at an old print, then that inspires me. If I hear an idiotic story about a corrupt politician, then that story will inspire me. If I am playing a piece of music that takes me to an extraordinary place, then that is my inspiration. To me, inspiration for my work comes from a variety of different sources. Sometimes ideas and inspiration come from the weirdest of sources.” Metal as Anything - with its engaging titles and fine whimsical details - was incredibly popular while on display at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery. 7,480 visitors were recorded during the course of the exhibition, including an astounding 245 people showing their support for the artist at the black and white themed opening celebration. Visitor comments collected throughout the exhibition were also indicative of its broad appeal. Accompanying Metal as Anything was a strong education resource kit, which established a new benchmark for education resources from the Gallery. McBurnie’s standing in the national arts scene was also recognised by Arts Queensland, with a Development and Presentation Grant secured to assist in the production of a beautiful exhibition catalogue comprised of essays, artwork images and the artist’s anecdotes. The catalogue helped visitors gain wonderful insights into McBurnie’s work and was a valuable compendium to the exhibition. Given the resounding popularity of the exhibition across a broad cross-section of the community; the easily accessible themes explored by the artist; and the quality of education and publication resources at the disposal of the Gallery, it was decided that a national tour of the exhibition would prove popular and be of benefit to both Ron McBurnie and Perc Tucker Regional Gallery.

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Metal As Anything on display at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in 2009


Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary

Tour Overview

Following the display of Metal as Anything at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, arrangements were made to ensure a tour was viable, and that the materials provided from the Gallery were of the highest possible standard. Former Perc Tucker Regional Gallery employee Pam Lane undertook the development of labels and didactics, and oversaw the fabrication of crates in which to tour the artworks. Slight amendments were also made to the education resources, while a stocktake was performed on the remaining catalogues. Freight management was undertaken by International Art Services (IAS). Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) was sought out to undertake the management of the tour, and following inclusion in the organisation’s Available Touring Exhibitions publication the following venues and dates were secured: 2011 Tableland Regional Gallery

4 April – 1 May 2011

Gympie Regional Gallery

17 May – 11 June 2011

Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery

14 July – 21 August 2011

Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

2 September – 23 October 2011

Wagga Wagga Art Gallery

18 November 2011 – 29 January 2012

2012 Tamworth Regional Gallery ANU School of Art Gallery

31 March – 28 April 2012

3 May – 26 May 2012

Logan Art Gallery

8 August – 15 September 2012

State Library QLD

24 September – 25 November 2012

Artspace Mackay

14 December 2012 - 27 January 2013

Positive responses have been received from all tour venues, with further details provided within this Exhibition Summary, and also within the attached M&GSQ Tour Report.

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Strand Ephemera 2011: Exhibition Summary

Top: Metal As Anything exhibition installed in the Philip Bacon Heritage Galley, level 4, State Library of Queensland. Photograph by Leif Ekstrom Bottom: Metal As Anything on display at Toowoomba Regional Gallery

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Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary

Tour Overview continued

Notably, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery and its staff has also learnt many lessons which will hold it in good stead to tour future exhibitions. Metal as Anything was the first exhibition toured from the Gallery in a number of years., and improvements will be made with regards to the distribution of catalogues to venues, appropriate crating and packaging of works, and the support materials provided to venues.

Above Image: Ron McBurnie The Temptation of Saint Antony 1994, hard ground etching and aquatint, 200 x 200 cm (eight plates), edition of 15

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Strand Ephemera 2011: Exhibition Summary

Top: Ron McBurnie delivers an etching workshop at Gympie Regional Gallery Top: Metal As Anything on display at Artspace Mackay

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Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary

Growing Townsville’s Arts and Cultural Reputation

Touring major exhibitions such as Ron McBurnie’s Metal as Anything strengthens the region’s standing as an arts and cultural centre of distinction within the national consciousness. Indicative of this benefit, one visitor to the State Library of Queensland’s display of Metal as Anything commented that “Townsville is clearly a cultural hub.” Reinforcing this perception of the region through the regular touring of exhibitions developed in Townsville has wide ranging benefits for both the Gallery and the region. Such benefits include: •

The successful undertaking of future planned tours such as Country and Western (pending funding) through the increased enthusiasm and interest of potential tour venues

Strengthening the region’s arts sector through increased sales and opportunities for artists

Strengthening the local economy by encouraging cultural tourism

Increased opportunities to display national and international content in the city’s galleries stemming from a heightened interest in the region within the national arts sector

Such recognition for the region and its artists also adds weight to any push for the development of an iconic Art Gallery of North Queensland and expanded cultural precinct.

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Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary

“Townsville is clearly a cultural hub.” - State Library of Queensland visitor

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Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary

Media Key to the developing reputation of Townsville as an arts and cultural hub is the proliferation of information about the region’s activities throughout the nation. Touring exhibitions are very successful at increasing this wide dissemination of information, primarily through the media and marketing conducted at each tour venue, and Metal as Anything has been no exception. Metal as Anything was promoted variously through online mediums, radio, television, and local and national print media - both news and arts specific. A sample of some of the media received for the touring exhibition is listed below, while the full breakdown of marketing conducted by the individual venues is contained within the venue reports on the attached CD. •

Half page Art Monthly Australia Advertisement

Regular features in Art Guide Australia

Regular features in Art Almanac

Art & Australia online Art Directory

Inclusion in numerous Museum & Gallery Services Queensland national sector publications

Large banners in Brisbane creative precinct produced by SLQ

Article in the Sunday Mail

Advertisement in eyeline

2 x advertisements in IMPRINT

Media releases produced by all tour venues resulting in numerous news articles in the regions’ newspapers

Inclusion in printed and online marketing materials at all tour venues

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Top: Metal As Anything attracted significant media and promotion during its tour


Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary

Gallery Services’ Participation Figures

The recently adopted Visual Arts Strategy identified a number of methods by which Gallery Services could be innovative, progressive, and ensure its relevance to the community. This relevance would be measured and reflected in the participation figures recorded by Gallery Services, be it in the Gallery, through satellite activities at external venues, or via digital technologies. One of the six major areas of activity underpinning the Visual Arts Strategy is Exhibitions; a sub-program identified within Exhibitions is the National Touring Program, of which Ron McBurnie’s Metal as Anything could be considered a pre-cursor, and strong evidence of the importance of this sub-program. The National Touring Program is intended to see “Selected special projects drawn from City of Townsville Art Collection; local, national and international artists; Townsville arts and cultural organisations; regional, state, national and international galleries and museums; and private and corporate collections toured throughout Australia as part of Gallery Services’ role as a leading public art organisation.” “Types of exhibitions include Local Product, Collection in Focus, Historical, Museological, special projects, group shows and thematic projects.” Metal as Anything - an exhibition of Local Product - has proven successful as a pre-cursor to the launch of the National Touring Program, as evidenced by the high levels of participation recorded at the 10 venues. In total, 21,456 participants have been recorded throughout the tour, with visitors engaging with both the exhibition and the associated public programs. This has included 12,991 participants from the total participation figures of 216,651 in the 2011/12 financial year. A further 8,465 will be reported in Gallery Services’ 2012/13 statistical findings within the Annual Report.

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Strand Ephemera 2011: Exhibition Summary

Ron McBurnie Master Class in Etching at Logan Art Gallery Gallery Services 13


Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary

Benefits to Townsville’s Artists

Of great significance to touring exhibitions is the immense value it has for the region’s artists. This value comes in the form of: •

Financial gain

Development of national profile through marketing and exposure

Increased sales opportunities

Significant networking opportunities with national artists and artsworkers

Possibilities of having works enter private, regional, state and national collections

Skills development fostered through the standard of product required to tour, and the numerous opportunities to deliver public programs such as talks and workshops

Ron McBurnie has enjoyed many such benefits, particularly a development of his national profile through the high levels of marketing and media previously reported, and exposure to large audiences along the eastern seaboard particularly state and territory capitals Brisbane and Canberra. A number of works by McBurnie have also entered the Artspace Mackay Collection as a result of the Metal as Anything tour. Having delivered talks and workshops at a number of the tour venues, McBurnie has also gained financially through the artist fees associated wth such activity. Gallery Services looks forward to the opportunity to deliver such benefits to other deserving artists in the region through the National Touring Program.

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Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary

Museum and Gallery Services Queensland

Museum and Gallery Services Queensland is the peak professional body for the public museum and gallery sector in Queensland. M&GSQ promotes, supports and provides services to foster excellence in museums, galleries and keeping places. They strive to ensure a future where museums, galleries and keeping places are relevant, accessible and valued by their communities. Museum and Gallery Services Queensland manages a comprehensive touring exhibitions program to provide access to contemporary visual arts practice for regional communities. The program encompasses exhibitions of art history, craft, social history, indigenous culture, architecture and design. M&GSQ tours exhibitions to venues throughout the state and provides developmental and tour management support to Queensland galleries, curators and arts organisations. M&GSQ is the Queensland agent for National Exhibition Touring Support (NETS) Australia, a national network of independent arts organisations committed to promoting and presenting contemporary art, craft and design through touring exhibitions. Given the expanse of time between Metal as Anything and Perc Tucker Regional Gallery’s last touring exhibition, and the considerable staff resources required to manage a tour, M&GSQ’s expertise was called upon to successfully manage the tour. While M&GSQ managed the Metal as Anything tour, staff were involved in the development and planning of the tour in liaison with M&GSQ. It is anticipated that with the new skills that were fostered through this liaison, and the revised Gallery structure, Gallery Services could undertake the management of future touring exhibitions internally. Fiona Marshall, Exhibition Program Manager for M&GSQ, stated in her tour report that “the exhibition was well recevied by the venue managers and the communities in the 10 venues of the tour...There was positive feedback about most aspects of the tour (see tour evaluation sheet), with most responses being in the above average range...Museum and Gallery Services Queensland has been pelased to include this exhibition in its touring program and we look forward to working with you on future tours.” While Gallery Services will likely undertake the management of touring exhibitions itself in future, the Metal as Anything tour has undoubtedly strengthened relations between Gallery Services and the Queensland museum and gallery sector’s peak professional body. Gallery Services 15


Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary

Metal As Anything on display at Tamworth Regional Gallery 16 Gallery Services


Metal As Anything Touring Exhibition Summary


Strand Ephemera 2011: Exhibition Summary

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Metal as Anything | Ron McBurnie: Touring Exhibition Summary