Goodness, 'who knows where the time goes'? Almost a whole year later, and here I am, back at my blog. I was reminded of it because my son has just begun his own here at blogspot.
It was the opening at the Cooroy Butter Factory of an exhibition of the McCrea Collections - Then and Now. Back in the late 70s-early 80s, the McCreas were part of the Ray Hughes Gallery inner sanctum of collectors, artists and lovers. Once a month, we would all come together at the Red Hill Gallery in Enoggera Terrace to launch a new exhibiton. The McCreas joined the scene in the early 80s. At 6pm we'd crack open the Coolibah casks and for a couple of hours we'd all be in thrall of Ray Hughes, the maverick bad-boy art dealer, feeling the full force of his fire and brimstone passion and faith in contemporary art.
Smithy (Ian Smith) was always there. He and Ray were firm, fast friends, and Davida Allen, my painting teacher, and a host of collectors who had learned that admission to Ray's salon only cost them the price of a picture. The McCreas were not alone - there was Athy Nye, the bikie who'd stacked his bike and spent his insurance pay out on art; Ben Peel, a tradie who put his purchases on lay-by and paid them off at $50 a week; Shane and Sally Thompson who made the effort to come up for the show have an equally excellent art collection, as do many others. Jim Baker, who opened the show had a spectacular passion for the art he saw in that terrace shop in Red Hill. He went on to become our biggest collector and was instrumental in brokering the finance for our move to Sydney in the mid-80s. He went on to set up the private Museum of Contemporary art in Brisbane and like David Walsh in Tasmania, put together a fantastic collection that he shared with the people of Brisbane.
So, while it was a weird blast from the past kind of a thing, it was also a fantastic testament to the love and faith John and Lyn McCrea placed in the possibility of where a work of art can take you and how it can change your life. Ray asked his collectors to dig into their pockets to support the artists in their midst - not only to buy the work, but to befriend them and continue to keep and care for their work, and thereby actively participate in its ongoing appreciation in value. By becomming the 'premiere' audience of the work, Ray's collectors were invited into the studio to be the first people in the world to see a new show, to be the front line curators of their own personal museums of art and ideas.
The Hughes Gallery.