Brightspace Art Gallery Review
By Justyna Piechutowska
Tucked away from the main traffic, in a backstreet of St Kilda, resides a lovely art gallery called Brightspace. When you ascend the stairs natural light floods into the room and illuminates a space of white walls and parqueted matte floor. You might be excused for mistaking it as some kind of a dance studio at first but as soon as the sense of space envelops you, you start to glance around the walls and notice all different types of colourful paintings that, despite all of their different subjects, textures and styles, compliment one another.
It is a welcoming sight, and the interesting glass sarcophagus coffee table in the middle of the floor, with its round plastic take-away containers filled with dried paint, make one feel like the paintings have just been finished, or even that I have intruded on the artist in process. The ’60s armchairs also give off a homely feel. Yes, this could be my lounge room.
The gallery is a vast space divided into two sections: the Window room, which as the name suggests has great windows in it, letting in natural light, and the Gallery room, named so because of the lack of windows and plenty of artificial light that can be focussed on the artworks. It gives one a sense of a public art gallery.
Leading from the Gallery room is sort of a nook that is quite the opposite: It’s painted black and it’s dark, giving paintings a contrasting feeling and setting a different mood.
What strikes me from the minute I enter this gallery is that, unlike other, smaller galleries that are more like a storeroom packed with sellable products, it functions more like a gallery; where one can enjoy the artworks displayed at one’s leisure, taking in all the details from many different art pieces without sense stimulation overload.
Since it opened in mid 2002, the gallery hosted and nurtured many artists. It strives to help artists to emerge by showcasing their art and exposing them to as many people as possible, hence their commitment to local artists, student and community shows, like the Artists for Kids Culture project, which starts at the end of October this year.
It is a very versatile space and I was lucky enough to see it at its potential a couple of years ago when I partook in its 10 year celebrations. There were paintings, sculptures and even a mixed media/music performance installation in the middle of the Window room. I never thought it was possible to pack so many people in this space!
Today though was a stark contrast to that day, with four different artists brought together by skilfully placed paintings that don’t take away from any one, but compliment each other with shapes, colours and textures.
If you enjoy local art or perhaps would like to showcase yours, Brightspace is surely the place to start.
8 Martin Street, St Kilda
T: (03) 9593 9366
M: 0423 225 182
Gallery Hours: 12 – 5 Wed – Sun