Words and photos by Letti K-Ewing
I visited on the Wednesday afternoon two days prior to the exhibition’s opening to chat with gallery directors Fruzsi Kenez and Caroline Gliddon about the ‘All Stars’ exhibition, closing their gallery’s doors, future personal and professional ventures, and the surprise launch of an exciting new Pozible campaign to fund the production of a retrospective book commemorating the artistic merits of a year of Peanut Gallery.
Adelaide Arcade’s beloved Peanut Gallery will be closing its doors indefinitely come September this year but not before a final hoorah to celebrate the innumerable accomplishments of its Adelaide-based directors and curators, artist Fruzsi Kenez and graphic designer Caroline Gliddon, over the past year. The gallery’s closing exhibition, aptly named ‘Peanut Gallery All Stars,’ showcases the artistic works of a select handful of multi-disciplinary artists who have all formerly exhibited at Peanut Gallery since its immaculate inception in September 2016.
Curated by Kenez and Gliddon, ‘All Stars’ opened on Friday 4th of August with a stocked bar and of course, an impressive collection of never-before-seen original, printed and handcrafted works adorning the walls (and floors; don’t trip) of the homely gallery. The exhibition boasts the works of formerly exhibited local, national and international artists, which Kenez says is an intentional “intertwining” curatorial approach to ensure the support of local “grass roots” artists as well as interstate and international artists in a carefully designed space that takes the often overwhelming formality out of a gallery viewing experience.
Upon my arrival, almost all of the various works for ‘All Stars’ had been mounted in their places and thoughtfully arranged around the gallery’s space. Some artists I recognised from previous exhibitions, others I was unfamiliar with but would soon be acquainted. Among one of the curators, the aforementioned artists and Peanut Gallery alumni exhibiting at ‘All Stars’ are: Jennifer Allnutt (MEL); Tayla Broekman (MEL); Kate Gagliardi (MEL); Tessa Hancock (ADL); Hannakin (MEL); Kyoko Imazu (MEL); Parker Lyas (ADL); Billy Oakley (ADL); Dasha Pliska (UKR); and Emma Sullivan (ADL).
The lease for Peanut Gallery was for a twelve-month period with a chance to be renewed. However, a fortuitous set of circumstances such as outside creative and business opportunities – and for Gliddon, the happy soon-to-be arrival of her second child – led them to the decision not to renew the space. This has left them with something of a feeling that is decidedly sweet rather than bitter.
“We’ve both had to put a lot of projects to the side and [have] had to sacrifice a lot to make the space happen and keep running, which is a large reason of why we’re having to close at this point… But I think separately we’re both looking forward to spending more time in our practices that we’ve spent many years building,” Kenez said of the gallery’s closing.
Gliddon agrees, “I think it’s quite inspiring to be around art [but] it’s frustrating to not have the time to do your own creative projects while you’re doing the less creative work of running a gallery,” she said.
Speaking on their accomplishments in creating and maintaining a prosperous business within the arts, while simultaneously providing a safe, diverse and welcoming space for gallery-goers and artists alike, both women confidently told of their successes within their yearlong venture.
“We’re lucky enough to have received a lot of interest from artists to show – and of course we would have liked to have shown more – but I think we’ve supported over 80 artists from around the world and a lot of local [artists], so definitely mission accomplished in that sense,” Kenez said.