As we wind down over the Christmas period and take much needed time to regroup, we reflect upon the year that was. Taking time is something we cherish at Otomys Contemporary. It allows us to pause, even for just a moment, and reconnect with what is going on around us, with the people that matter most. We sit back with gratitude and pride as we learn and grow from one year to the next.

Otomys Contemporary began the year by welcoming Zarah Cassim to our gallery. South African born, Paris based artist introduced a contemplative series of original oil paintings that questioned both reality and illusion, and attempted to blur the boundary between the two entities.

Hannah Abbott, existing Otomys team member, was warmly welcomed into the role of Australian Co – Director in February. Her unwavering passion for art, design and the finer details within creative ventures lead to the appointment of her role. Hannah joined Co – Founder and Co – Director Megan Dicks, slipping into the role with grace and enthusiasm.

At this time we also saw Celia Gullett’s geometric abstraction series come to life in the Melbourne and London galleries. In this series, Gullett explores the interplay of colour and compositions, creating a lively dialogue within and between the works. We have since exhibited and sold Celia’s first large scale geometric abstractions. Observing such development and distillation of practice is most exciting!

As February became March, Parisian artist Caroline Denervaud adorned the skyline of London Fashion Week in Roksanda’s runway showcase – exploring traces of time and abstract movement to compliment the garments on show. The work engulfed the end wall of the runway acting as an expanded backdrop to the fashion show and was also echoed along the length of the ceiling through delicate, organza hanging panels.

March presented two exhibitions – Autumnus in Melbourne and the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, London. Curated to draw on the energy of shorter days and cooler nights, Autumnus encouraged guests to sit for a moment and listen to music selected by artists to accompany their works. The Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, London was a wonderful celebration of art by many for many! An experience that instills much confidence and pride within the art market.

With great excitement Otomys Contemporary welcomed two new Art Consultants to our team in April; Jessica Leighton appointed for Queensland and Sarah Richardson for New South Wales (Australia). Jess and Sarah are dynamic, effervescent in nature and filled with great determination – a pure delight and asset for the team. Pictured below – Jess, Bethany, Sarah and Liesl at our team conference in Melbourne.

By the middle of the year, we welcomed the work of Danielle Creenaune to Otomys Contemporary. Danielle’s work acts in occupation for the liminal zone between abstraction and representation, where the experience of a place, rather than a literal rendition of landscape feeds her creative practice. Her work – reductive and selective – distills the essence of her subject though mark making on lithographic plates and printmaking techniques. Based in Barcelona, Spain, her superb print studio acts merely as her canvas where the life of pre-lived experiences of landscape and people are brought to life

In July, we were focused on Heath Newman’s Melbourne exhibition, Somnium. The opening drew a crowed of well over 150 people and was a tremendous success. Since, Heath has been working back to back on commissioned works, as well as building his practice – fragments of still life, myths of the world, strokes, scrawls and colour fields. Heath himself describes his work and playful practice as a mental map; both of his subconscious and of the greater, deeper collective consciousness.

September and November were marked as significant months for our gallery in the United Kingdom. In September, Co – Founder and UK Director Nikki Finch popped up in the Marylebone Design District for London Design Festival. Nikki curated a brilliant exhibit of works by Caroline Denervaud, Ian Rayer Smith, Nina Dolan and Linda Oubhi. With our gallery space located in Tetbury (in the Cotswolds) it is important for our artists to be seen in London through carefully curated, collaborative events. Returning to Tetbury for our November winter exhibition, Nikki presented work by Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco, Kira Ni and Luke Eastop. Pictured below – Danielle Creenaune travels from Barcelona to visit Nikki in London.

In the last quarter of the year, we welcomed artists such as Dragica Carlin to Otomys Contemporary, as well as new pastel works from Karin Haas and large light forays by Greg Penn. In celebration of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, our Melbourne window was dressed with Susan Watson Knight’s gentle and unique cyanotypes from the series Soft as Butter.

The year was dotted with collaborative projects for unique and carefully considered spaces with leading design studios and architects. Working along side such industry leaders ignites the power of careful aesthetics whilst highlighting the importance of art within the everyday.

All of a sudden, we sat looking at our diaries to see that December was neatly stamped at the top of the page. December marked an exciting beginning for our newly appointed London Otomys Art Consultant, Bethany Woolfall. After spending a few valuable months in the Melbourne gallery, Bethany left for the United Kingdom, ready to take on the New Year with Nikki Finch.

Our year has been filled with countless moments to be thankful for, and without the work and commitment of our incredible artists and team, we would not be able to be where we stand today. It is with tremendous gratitude that we are able to close our books for the year, and spend this time being thankful. We thank you for your commitment and support to the gallery, and we look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year!

Otomys Co – Founder and Co – Director, Megan Dicks.

What are your family traditions? I love the Christmas season…  Christmas carols and the scent of a fresh Christmas tree mark the beginning of a stretch of summer holidays ahead. Every year on the first weekend of December my family get together with extended family for the ‘Stirring of the Pudding’ – this tradition, of almost 50 years, is an opportunity to close your eyes, stir the pudding and make a wish… And the older we get the longer we seem to stir the spoon! 

How are you spending the holiday season? At this time of year when the commercial world picks up speed, I tend to split my focus on work deadlines and the endless planning for a family Christmas – I have to remind myself that this is a fortunate and fabulous blend! This year we’ll enjoy this magical season in Vanuatu with a large group of family. 

Books, Music, Podcasts, films you plan to enjoy?  I am planning to read ‘Becoming Michelle Obama’ and ‘In Pieces Sally Field’… And podcasts to listen to: Slow Burn, Caliphate and anything with James Corden. Music: Sampha, Marlon Williams, The Weekend Essentials, The Avener, Riding with The King BB King…!

What’s on your Wishlist? And on the top of my Christmas wish list is a relaxing holiday with extended family, fresh fish and French wine… Tick.

 

Otomys Art Consultant Queensland, Jessica Leighton.

How are you spending the holiday season? I’m at home in Brisbane this year, and I hope to make lots of little day trips to the beach, whether Byron, the Gold Coast, or the Sunshine Coast. I had better get started on organising some activities for the other days… a six-year-old’s expectations for school holidays are high! Plus, like many of us, I’m keen to make progress on the old to-do’s – painting the exterior of the house (attempting this; not sure if wise), building an outdoor staircase… My gorgeous sister is expecting a baby around Christmas, so it will be a particularly special one for all of us.

What are your family traditions? We alternate between spending time with family in Melbourne and family in Brisbane, and this year is also all about catching up with friends, which I’m very much looking forward to. The trusty backyard sprinkler will no doubt get a workout.

Places you love to go?The water, the coast… where our friends and family are – where the sunshine is! And of course one of these Christmases, I plan on miraculously waking up in a vineyard in Italy (likely to happen, right?!).

Books, Music, Podcasts, films you plan to enjoy?I’m looking forward to reading at least one of the books I’ve had stacked on my side-table for months and months: Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume, Gillian Mears’ Foal’s Bread, Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, and Tim Winton’s Eyrie.I’ll take my son to the new SparkLab at Queensland Museum. I’d like to head to GOMA and the Museum of Brisbane – lots happening at both. A day at the Woodford Folk Festival in late December looks fantastic, as does Music by the Sea. There are also some local wineries holding events over the festive season, so we’ll see!

What’s on your Wishlist? Some tropical plants. I can’t wait to turn my neglected garden in to a tropical haven, or at least get started on creating the beginnings of! ULTIMATE wishlist = swimming with the whales in Tonga.

 

Otomys Art Consultant Queensland, Sarah Richardson.

How are you spending the holiday season? This year we’ll be in Qld at my Dads, where the beach is only a few minutes away and life is slower and the days are longer – absolute bliss! The house backs on to the pool which overlooking a river only a few metres, so we’re all looking forward to lazy days in the sun by the pool and the beach. Having a 2-year-old has made me love Christmas even more – experiencing it through his eyes is purely magical! Since he was born he is our absolute focus, even more so at this time of year

What are your family traditions? Having my husband’s family in Christchurch NZ, my brother in living Ubud Bali, my dad on the Sunshine Coast and my mum in Sydney, it’s rare we have a Christmas in our own home. When we’re in Sydney or NZ, Boxing Day is traditionally the day we spend with friends drinking and eating leftovers in abundance. An affair that starts in the morning and finishes up usually way too late into the night. Wherever we are for Christmas each year, my husband insists on carting a 3M high blow-up Father Christmas/Santa with us. He even made an appearances on the South Island of NZ, on a road trip we did a few years ago.

Places you love to go?When we’re in Sydney it’s the beach beach beach! – Balmoral is our favourite, however, this summer we’re intending to scout out more secluded beaches – like Little Bay, Kutti Beach and Parsley Bay. We’ll be definitely visiting The Grounds of Alexandria as they’ve partnered with Disney to bring The Nutcracker and the Four Realms to life, which looks stunning and our son will be swept away!

Books, Music, Podcasts, films you plan to enjoy: Aaaah books – I would love to say I will read everything on my bedside table, however, having a toddler and reading rarely go hand in hand.  Music we listen to aplenty. We have music playing constantly, whether it’s the festive season or a rainy day building lego cities. It’s usually a mixture of old classics from the likes of Aretha Franklin and Prince, to chilled cruisy day tunes of Ziggy Alberts. Films – I need to still see Bohemian Rhapsody! A must! 

What’s on your wishlist?I’m usually one for experiences – Recently a friend gave my husband and I a VR experience which was literally out of this world! Oooh and I’ve had my eye on some luxurious linen bedding which is divine. Otherwise, perfume is always a winner!