The only thing better than seeing your work lining the walls of an art gallery? When you’re the owner of those walls, too.
Ash Holmes is back to remind us there are enough hours in the day to do it all, piecing together her own solo show, launching gallery space Hake House, and pulling together an incredible group show and raising funds for flood relief in the process. The Sydney artist recently opened the doors on the Northern Beaches best and brightest new exhibition space, Hake House—a light-flooded industrial warehouse in Brookvale—and she let us inside to peek around and have a chat about her stunning new show VISION EMERGE, opening this at 1 pm this Saturday, May 28th at her very own Hake House.
Starting your own gallery space is such a huge undertaking. What was one of the biggest challenges of turning the idea into a reality?
Finding the right space. I was searching for a large industrial type space with high ceilings, natural light and character around Brookvale for a few years. This space then fell into our laps, as a friend of ours was moving out of the space. Finding the right space to transform into a gallery was a challenge because there are a few non-negotiable aspects to a building, especially when it comes to showcasing art. We also have our studios at the back of the gallery, so having everything under the one roof is really lovely.
You’ll be bringing your own solo show to the walls of Hake House, opening this weekend. How long has this show been in the works?
This is my first solo show of 2022, so it’s been about 12 months since I’ve showcased works physically in a space with a large body of work. I’ve been working on these since last year, and the last two months I’ve spent refining the pieces.
Your interest in colour psychology is always an important part of your work. How has colour influenced the latest series?
There’s a nod to pink in this body of work, as there is in majority of my pieces. The ‘Drunk Tank Pink’ theory that I’m instinctively drawn to has come about in these works again. There’s a balance of forest green and blush throughout, with some introduction to brown.
Outside of the art world, what has been inspiring you while you’ve been creating this series?
Surrounding our gallery there’s lots of concrete because we are in the industrial area. However, I’ve found myself documenting on film different shrubs and plants emerging from the concrete and taking over the building. It’s a reminder that nature is strong, always moving forward and healing. I’m always returning to nature as a source of inspiration.
You seem to have been experimenting with your framing as well, can you tell us a bit more about that?
We do our framing in house, which I’m extremely grateful for because I can experiment with framing options. I’ve been burning the edges of my Tasmanian Oak frames so they have charred sections, then sealing the charcoal smudges and burnt edges.
Your first Hake group show, Company We Keep, was a massive success and featured a really incredible roster of artists. What’s your criteria for artists you’ll want to see on Hake’s walls moving forward?
We’re so grateful to work with all of these incredible, kind and driven artists. I’m drawn to the artists’ process above all, and aesthetically drawn to techniques and compositions I haven’t seen before when selecting works. We are currently representing established and emerging artists. Our criteria is falling into a space where our artists have a strong connection to nature and form.
There’s so many beautiful and considered elements within the gallery. What are some of your favourite design details in the space?
Thank you, I really love our brass detailing in the gallery. We have brass sconce lights and lettering, and I love how brass ages over time and will continue to change with the weather and environment. There is also a mixture of curves and lines in the walls of our space; I like the balance of texture too. Each artist’s work is enhanced on different surfaces—I feel that variation in the gallery is important.
What feels different about this new series for you, compared to what you’ve created in the past?
In the past, I’ve worked on a piece with layers upon layers and I love the depth that it creates. However, in this series, there are some works that feel more spacious and have larger fields of colour, which feels like I’m revisiting my past in a ‘less is more’ sense.