Kevin (Bloody) Wilson is throwing the towel in, no, not Kevin “bloody” Wilson the offensive singer, Kevin “bloody” Wilson the offensive bureaucrat.
Don’t know who he is? well he’s been the head honcho of the Albury public arts scene for two and a half years, slurping down a pay check of $84,000 to $93,000 a year (at least that’s what council is putting on the table to try to lure a successor).
I’m a bit of a secretive arts buff, I sneak into galleries un-noticed, invisible (I think it’s because I try not to look like a poseur) and take a look around.
Let me say quite clearly, on the record, the past two and a half years at the Albury gallery have been the absolute worst I can remember.
We do actually have an arts community here in Albury, trouble is you’d never know it.
Case in point, when’s the last time you saw ANY indigenous art in the Albury gallery? I know of at least five prolific and talented aboriginal artists in the local area, there are two permanent commercial galleries, one on the causeway, and another in North Albury, plus at least one other temporary exhibition as part of NAIDOC week recently.
Is any of this reflected in the regional gallery? certainly not.
We have Bill Henson’s soft kiddy porn to burn (oh how I wish) but sadly we seem to have missed the boat utterly when it comes to promoting indigenous art.
There’s a saying in lanscape art, particularly Australian landscape art, that a painter is suffering “Streeton-itis” or the “Streeton legacy”, it’s a derogatory term and it denotes an apparent inability of an artist to divest themselves of the influence of Arthur Streeton (a late 19th century/ early 20thcentury landscape painter of some renown), there are many artists of the Australian landscape which fall into this category, the “spell” was only really broken with Albert Namatjira almost half a century later.
Here in Albury, we seem to be suffering “McCubbin-itis”, apparently gallery curators can’t get beyond the fact that Frederick McCubbin did a couple of doodles here and damned if we’ll put anything else on the gallery walls ever since.
NSW regional galleries are “themed”, this means, want to see ceramics? off to Shepparton you go, Albury, well we must have drawn the short straw because we got lumped with the McCubbins and photography.
I can barely contain my excitement, or perhaps that should be excrement.
Consequently we were lumped with Bill Henson’s kiddy fiddling obscenities, and a whole bunch of other crap so mundane it makes Ovens and Murray football seem positively thralling by comparison.
In fairness, I should concede that the children’s gallery was an inspired inclusion to the gallery, sadly however, there have been many times I’ve attended an exhibition only to find what was on offer at the children’s gallery was the better option.
Certainly I see the vacating of the “top job” in Albury’s public artistic circles is a fantastic opportunity to recruit someone of vision and really push our arts community forwards.