Images of Tasmania - The Origins
Images of Tasmania arose from a group of Tasmanian School of Art graduates, who, as far back as the early 60s began painting together and exhibiting in various venues around the state.
The initial group of artists were George Richardson, Blair Gamble, Tim Waller, Wally Sutherland and Robert Ikin, later joined by Betsy Gamble, Loris Waller, Diane Casimaty and Jan Peacock. This group then expanded to include the Fern Tree Print Makers. These artists, at the suggestion of Betsy and Jan, held an exhibition in 1998 at the Long Gallery. The exhibition occurred over the time of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and The Taste of Tasmania when the area was active, visitors were in abundance and the Long Gallery was not in use.
This was the beginning of Images of Tasmania as we now know it. The title was inspired by the name of The Taste of Tasmania event and it was hoped that local musicians might develop a Sounds of Tasmania to add to the mix. Betsy and Jan became more involved with the organisation of the Images of Tasmania exhibition. One year Betsy, Blair and their girls opened the gallery on Christmas day, serving sherry and Christmas cake to visitors. Blair and his girls made little frames sometime after the second exhibition, with Diane and Theo (Diane’s husband) framing the small images donated by participating artists – hence the beginnings of The Miniatures. Theo also made hooks to go over the central hanging screens enabling an easier method for putting up the artists’ works.
The early shows had larger numbers, over 60 participants. It was difficult to control and the manner of exhibiting was a bit untidy. The introduction of a standard for exhibiting works based on the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery aesthetic protocol enabled a more controlable and visually stronger exhibition. The numbers of exhibitors reduced to around 42 and over the years the familiarity of the procedures enabled a more professional tone. It has become a worthy model of collaboration and co-operation. A rewarding experience for all involved.
The initial group involved were all art teachers, so the intention was to make diverse approaches to art making comprehensible to the viewing public. We have focussed on Tasmanian School of Art graduates with some occasional ‘headhunting’.
Unfortunately, there are no detailed records kept of the early days as it wasn’t consciously considered that this ‘project’ would be going 25 years later.
Information supplied by Diane Casimaty and Jan Peacock. December 2022