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SHIFTING FOCUS: DISCORDIA GALLERY

Discordia is a platform for contemporary art and discourse located in Melbourne's Nicholas Building. Founded by Elizabeth McInnes in February 2020, Discordia seeks to establish an experimental venue for the arts; convening, exhibiting, and supporting critical voices of contemporary artists and practitioners within Australia. Discordia provides exhibitions to artists at no cost on a case by case basis, embracing resolution through method, outcomes through trial and happening.

Their physical exhibition program will include emerging artists both local and international including LGBTQI+ artists, artists with disabilities and artists from rural and Indigenous communities. Forthcoming exhibitions include reputable emerging artists such as Gabriel Cole, Julia Trybala, Tully Moore and Nick Modzrewski.

Painting by Julia Trybala, Untitled, Oil on Canvas, 2020. Courtesy of the Artist. Julia Trybala has an exhibition at Discordia 14th October - 4th November 2020.

Shifting Worlds will be fostering an ongoing relationship with Discordia, inviting the gallery to present a selection of artworks in store. Works in a range of mediums will be displayed in-store alongside our careful curation of designer pieces. During our brief reopening, you may have seen the current display of work by Melbourne based artist and ceramicist, Queenie Star. The painting and sculptures are visually striking among the current collection with complementary colours amplified throughout the space. Together, we hope to honour the long-standing connection between contemporary art and fashion.

To celebrate our collaboration, Shifting Worlds was invited to dress Gallery Director Elizabeth McInnes and Assistant Curator Elle Ross for this photoshoot. The styling reflected their own personal style as well as the idea of 'power dressing'. 

Sculptures by Gabriel Cole. Left: The tide has the mater plan, 2020 Right: Castles made of sand, 2020. Raku white clay, earthenware, enamel. Courtesy of the Artist. Gabriel Cole has a solo exhibition at Discordia from 28th November - 12th December. Elle wears RUS Vent Textured Top in Pale Green, Pleats Please by Issey Miyake Thicker Bottoms Tie Front Pants in Lilac, Maryam Nassir Zadeh Palma Low Sandal in Caramel. Elizabeth wears Maryam Nassie Zadeh Salma Dress in Onyx, Oscar Pouch in Cream, Cecil Pumps in White.

What drove you to start Discordia Gallery?

E.M After graduating from VCA in 2015 I moved to the Netherlands to do residencies and open a gallery and curatorial project Conch. While I was in Europe I observed many galleries that ran differently to spaces operating within Australia. Often galleries here can require lengthy application processes, exhibiting fees and are reliant on funding to keep them alive - all of this felt counter to how I like to work as a creative and as a curator so I wanted to open a gallery that empowers artists and itself through flexibility and immediacy. Discordia is a gallery that drives to be open, intimate but still maintains a critical and refined perspective. It is a space where we deal with artists and exhibitions on a case by case basis - each artist has different needs and I wanted to open a gallery like Discordia to support that. 

Painting by Julia Trybala, Untitled, Oil on Canvas, 2020. Courtesy of the Artist. Elizabeth wears Sara Lanzi Vinyl Straight Coat in Green, Maryam Nassir Zadeh Salma Dress in Onyx, Sphere Biwa Pearl Necklace and Mondo Mondo Roma Earrings in White Bronze.
 

What will Discordia contribute to Melbourne's art scene and beyond?

E.M Melbourne is a fab and stylish progressive place and our galleries should reflect this, we need more creative institutions that aim to break free of recycled trends and support many artists who are underrepresented or forgotten. Our upcoming roster includes some exciting artists who have rarely been shown in a contemporary art exhibition context so it’s empowering to run an organisation that can showcase their work. I think in the long term I want Discordia to shake up the market and the current status quo with some creative chaos of sorts. In many other art economies, I’ve noticed collectors invest in artworks that are much more left of centre rather than just paintings and sculptures, in the long term I would like Discordia to bring that energy into the market here and make things that seem out there instead really accessible and real.

E.R Most importantly, I think I wanted to work alongside Discordia to support underrepresented artists and make a concerted effort to actively promote their careers. Discordia is focused on selling work to collectors and widening its presence to different demographics, other than just the art world (as well as the art world). I would love work to be collected by a vast array of people and I want my work with Discordia to reflect that.

Sculpture by Gabriel Cole, Castles made of sand, 2020. Raku white clay, earthenware, enamel. Courtesy of the Artist.
Elizabeth wears Sara Lanzi Vinyl Straight Coat in Green, Maryam Nassie Zadeh Salma Dress in Onyx, Oscar Pouch in Cream, Cecil Pumps in White.

How do your personal tastes in art collide to form the aesthetic of Discordia?

E.M My work in art production over the last five years has predominantly been in curation with a little publishing, writing and theoretical kinds of art research. As a result much of my creative practice has been a little isolated. Starting a gallery has liberated me from working solely with my own personal tastes and brought differing ideas and aesthetics into Discordia. I invited Elle to curate and assist on some projects at Discordia because I value her liberated and independent perspective surrounding art. Elle has a refined eye and knows how to bring a great sense of joy and fun to her work which is refreshing and unpretentious. I’m sure that if the gallery only exhibited my personal taste the programme at Discordia would largely be very sombre and strange! For me, having a broad and inclusive approach is more democratic; art is vast and there are so many styles and approaches to discover when we open ourselves up to new ideas. I guess I see Discordia’s aesthetic as one which is defined by the artists and curators who exhibit with us, I would never want a gallery that has fixed ideas about taste - especially not just my own!

E.R Elizabeth and I are very lucky to have had a close personal and artistic relationship since we were teenagers. We have collaborated and consulted each other for years, and this has meant that our aesthetic has grown organically in the same direction. Obviously, this isn't to say that we agree on all artistic directions, but I think that having known each other for so long, we generally have a telepathic sense of what we will both like, and what is more Elizabeth or more my taste. I have come on to assist and curate on a number of projects, and I think with my background at LON Gallery and well as involvement in interiors and art consulting, that I am focused on a more sales perspective aspect of the gallery. I have been fortunate enough to have worked for many years styling properties and consulting clients for residential and commercial projects and through this experience, I have gained a great understanding of what people want in their homes, and the special relationship between, art, architecture, furniture and lighting. Under the Discordia umbrella, I have come in to assist in growing this part of the business in the coming year and offer more art consultancy to businesses and private homes. I feel art is an integral part of any interior or abode, and I want to utilize my knowledge of local and international artists in combination with my finesse and passion in interior design to provide a bespoke experience for businesses and clients while promoting emerging and upcoming artists I feel are worth investing in.

Painting by Julia Trybala, Charcoal Pink, Oil on Canvas, 2020. Courtesy of the Artist. Elle wears Shrimps River Coat, Maryam Nassir Zadeh Palma Low Sandals, Mykita x Maison Margiela MMCRAFT006 Sunglasses in Champagne Gold.
  

We are very excited to foster the relationship between Discordia and Shifting Worlds, what prompted you to collaborate with us?

E.R Fashion for myself has always been another form of expression, and I know Elizabeth and myself have both always taken great pride in what we wear and which designers we support. Designers much like artists have a well-honed craft and we love to embrace those that work hard and make considered and conceptually interesting pieces. Shifting Worlds is an obvious choice as it stocks some of the designers Elizabeth and I love (MNZ, Shrimps, Issey Miyake), and as well as supporting, we also get to support another small business here in Melbourne. In times like this it's important to uplift one another where we can. I think that Discordia and Shifting Worlds have a similar creative direction and appreciation for supporting and promoting artists and designers.

E.M I think fashion and art have had a long-standing and underrepresented relationship, especially many of the designers that Shifting Worlds stocks. Issey Mikayke and Yoji Yamomoto, for example, are pioneers in new material and textile developments within garment making and have been exhibited in museums many times over. I love the idea of Shifting Worlds being an extension of this tradition, celebrating art and design in its beautiful space. Given everything that has been happening this year with COVID-19, I think it's such an important time to continue to participate in our creative passions and forms of expression - life and its joys must go on! Elle with her background in interior styling and fabulous personal love of fashion was the perfect person to work alongside Shifting Worlds, she has already put forth many gorgeous emerging artists such as Julia Trybala and Queenie Star. I look forward to seeing everything unfold!

 

Photography: Melissa Cowan
Clothing: Shifting Worlds

www.discordia.gallery
info@discordia.gallery
@discordia.gallery

 

ELIZABETH & ELLE'S PICKS

 

Martiniano Glove Shoes in Light Pink

 

Mondo Mondo Venus Drop Earrings in Gold

 

UUSI Supra Oracle Deck 

 

Subtle Bodies Soft Baroque Brass Burner in S Curve

 

RUS Vent Textured Top in Pale Green

Paloma Wool Benve Draped Silk Tank in Lilac

 

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