Posted: 16 Jan 2013
In June 2009 at a gallery opening, Sixtoeight.net was born. It gave us a chance to offer our opinions over a glass of sparkling chardonnay while deciding to help artists promote their work, helping galleries promote their artists by allowing exhibitions to be viewed via the internet all over the world. It’s about connecting people and allowing those who can’t make it the opening to still see it.
As Sixtoeight stands for 6pm to 8pm, it started out as being all about the openings — which as custom has, invariably open at 6pm. When an artist has an opening, it’s that moment when the artist celebrates the effort and determination put into creating the body of work — sharing it with friends, family, peers and the establishment. They are laying out their soul for all the world to share and making it their time to shine.
Art can be very addictive. We took the initiative and saw as many shows as we could. There was a certain significant gap in arts commentary and our blog fitted comfortably into the void. We made time to meet with the artists and galleries, sometimes making a video of the artist talking about their work. Tom Carment was fantastic when talking about his show at the Damien Minton Gallery back in 2011 — he spoke on camera for about fifteen minutes, every painting was discussed and the whole experience was stress free.
We haven’t asked everyone, as it’s usually to do with time constraints, and so far only one artist has turned down the option of talking about their work.
Now Sixtoeight is more than the opening. If I can’t make the opening I will make time to get to see it before it closes and if I like it I’ll write about it. Being an artist myself it has helped me to realise that artists don’t want to hear anything detrimental about their work, so to be fair to myself and the artist, if I don’t like the work then there is no point in reviewing it. Criticism can be left to the critics.
When I started out in the 1980s as a young artist, there was no internet, little real regular art commentary and nowhere near as many galleries to choose from, so I guess I am making up for lost time and trying not to miss too much. We have more and more to look at nowadays, with pop-up and artist-run initiatives popping up all over the place, even salon-type shows appearing in private homes. With the hope of covering shows outside of Sydney and maybe international exhibitions, Sixtoeight has a proposal for a television show. It recently moved its office to the Blue Mountains. Most of us still have jobs to pay the rent, so finding ways to make Sixtoeight generate funds is a priority. - Fleur MacDonald, founder of Sixtoeight.net, painter and photographer
Images from top:
Marco Fusinato, There is no Authority, 2012, New Zealand wool rug, 9.25 x 12.04cm. Anna Schwartz Gallery. Photograph Fleur MacDonald.
Georgina Pollard, Fold Plastic, 2011, acrylic paint, 100 x 120cm. A-M Gallery. Photograph Fleur MacDonald.