Supporting different corporate goals
Catherine Asquith is an acquisitions consultant for global private, corporate and institutional collections that specialise in Australian art, Aboriginal art and Asian contemporary art.
Asquith is an enthusiastic supporter of the trend towards more contemporary art in corporate spaces.
“I think that art in public spaces contributes to society’s cultural infrastructure, and I feel that corporations benefit from it, too,” she says.
“It is great to see big corporations around the world and in Australia embrace art as part of their mandate. Macquarie, BHP, Wesfarmers, Deutsche Bank and UBS are just some of the companies that display art, and use it to entertain staff and clients.
“They’re all aiming to achieve different things, but I think that it bodes well for the Australian art community, and the general public, that artists are adding to the fabric of the business world.”
A space for the imagination
Danie Mellor’s rainforest art work at 480 Queen Street provides an immersive visual journey.
480 Queen Street, Brisbane is a recent addition to the group of commercial buildings with major art installations. The commission is one of the largest of its kind for a commercial office building in Australia.
Brisbane artist Danie Mellor has made an artwork which deploys immersive imagery to wrap itself around the space, incorporating the heights of the forest canopy and simulating thick and lush undergrowth spiralling up the walls of the building.
The artwork allows a visual journey to unfold for people travelling on the 30 metre escalator from street level to the building’s public parkland on level 4, all the way imagining they are surrounded by a rainforest.
The presence of indigenous people and the native flora and fauna in the piece hint at a parallel world, asking the question: are we in their space or are they in ours?
And that is the purpose of the art on display in commercial buildings. It wants to get occupants and visitors to think differently about the spaces they inhabit, and inspire them to approach their own work with a more open mind.
“Only 20 years ago this wouldn’t have happened,” says Matthew Johnson, a Melbourne-based painter. The underlying compositional structure of many Matthew Johnson paintings is repetition – grids, geometric patterns, stripes or sequential arrangements drawn from nature.
“Now we have a lot more dialogue between architects, designers, landlords and of course artists,” he says. “Even councils are involved now with commissioning artwork, and that augurs well for the future.
“What is great is that now we are seeing areas of the city and beyond where [formerly] artists would not be engaged in or associated with the area,” Johnson says.
“We are using space, light, shadows and vision in our work to change the make-up of a city.”