Step inside the fantastical world of Valerie Sparks
17 November 2018
2-3pm Saturday 17 November
Join artist Valerie Sparks, interior designer Kate Challis, Assistant-Director Artbank Emma Crimmings, and MGA Director Anouska Phizacklea as they explore Sparks’s current exhibition. Our guest speakers will dive into the process of commissioning an artist, and discuss the joy of bringing art into your domestic environment as Kate Challis has recently done with a dramatic installation of Sparks’s Le Vol series (below) which wraps around her kitchen-dining room and is featured in the November edition of Vogue Living.
Allusion & Illusion: the fantastical world of Valerie Sparks
on display until 18 November at Monash Gallery of Art
About our guest speakers
Valerie Sparks is a Melbourne based artist who creates large scale printed works and immersive installation environments. She is interested in the history and aesthetics of immersive environments, including frescos, glass houses, stereoscopic photographs, French scenic wallpapers from the 1800s and contemporary 3D light based installations. In 2015 Valerie completed a Masters of Fine Art at Monash University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Anthropology and Pacific Studies, Honours in Anthropology, and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Drawing. Exploring historical collections and archives is a core element in Valerie's practice. She has undertaken number of research projects in a variety of locations including; the Vienna and La Rochelle Natural History Museums, the Musueè du Papier Peint in Rixheim, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Whitworth Gallery of Art, the Royal Institute of British Architects. The strong historical focus in her practice is reflected in her work, as she references and reinterprets historical imagery, archives and artefacts.
Kate Challis is the Principal Designer at Kate Challis Interiors, a unique design studio whose work is strongly influenced by its founder’s initial career as an art historian. Kate grew up amongst prominent artists, writers and intellectuals, and her childhood was spent amidst museums and churches, in both European cities and other places of the world. Kate is the grand-daughter of Bernard Smith, the esteemed art-historian who is considered to be one of Australia’s most important thinkers—and one of the most significant influences on her life.
Interior designer Kate Challis describes art as ‘integral to life and living’ and no more so than in her own home where she commissioned artist Valerie Sparks to take her dramatic and multilayered Le Vol series, currently on display at MGA, and fill the walls of her kitchen and dining room. This expansive installation of a lush light-filled landscape which draws on 19th century traditions of French wallpaper, is a space Challis is immersed in everyday, giving her a unique perspective on Sparks’s work.
Emma is the Assistant-Director of Artbank - Melbourne, a Federal organisation that supports contemporary Australian artists through the purchase of work, and who uniquely funds its program through the leasing of the artworks in their collection. Emma’s wealth of experience includes most recently working as Director of Gertrude Contemporary and previously as a Producer for ABC TV Arts, a curator at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and the Australian Centre for Photography, and as Acting Director and Program Manager of Cultural Affairs at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC. In 2015 Emma was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to undertake international research on artists’ residences programs and creative place making. A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts’ School of Film and TV, Emma also has a Bachelor of Arts in art history and criticism, and has authored numerous books and publications on film and the visual arts.