Outre Gallery’s “Mid-Century Modern Curated” exhibition features original vintage paintings and prints from the Mid Century era. The exhibition will run until July 9th 2018 at 249-251 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.
In the lead up to this exhibition, I spoke to Martin McIntosh who has curated the show, asking him about his love for Mid Century art and design as well as styling tips for the home.
Q1) Outre Gallery will be hosting a new show that you have curated that is opening on Friday June 22nd. Could you tell me about the idea behind this project?
A1) This is a show that has organically evolved over the past few years – this is the fourth Mid-Century show I’ve curated in fact. It started out initially as an exhibition mixing original vintage architectural renderings and contemporary works inspired by the 1950s and 1960s era, and has organically evolved into this show which increases the breadth of what is shown. It will include original vintage 1950s and 60s era artworks from Scandinavia, original Modernist architectural renderings, vintage 1960s Syd Mead prints, and contemporary artworks by Steve Millington (UK), Chris Turnham (US) Bren Luke (AU) inspired by the era. Vintage Scandinavian artworks courtesy of gallery midlandia in Collingwood.
Q2) In your own words, how would you describe Mid Century art and design?
A2) Crisp, playful, fun. The mid-20th century was such a rich period for art and design. The influence of an art movements such as Cubism, Abstract Expressionism and the Bauhaus on 20th Century were great and I love how their influence was distilled into other incarnations. For example an artist such as Piet Mondrian from the 1930s influenced the look of architecture and design in the years that followed with his strong lines, bold colour and definite composition translating so well to design (such as the famous Yves Saint Laurent dress), and to popular culture with manifestations such as 1960s LP covers (such as the Beach Boys All Summer Long cover).
Q3) What is the typical colour palette associated with Mid Century artworks?
A3) A very broad spectrum but lots of colour.
Q4) Which artists and designers can we expect to see in this exhibition?
A4) Many and varied! We have vintage works from Scandinavia from artists including Fabian Lundqvist and Axel Salto courtesy of gallery midlandia who specialise in original artworks roughly from 1940-1970, architectural renderings from Palm Springs architect William Krisel, space age futuristic prints by Syd Mead for US Steel from the 1960s
In regards to contemporary artists we have Steve Millington from the UK and from the US works inspired by the mid century urban (and suburban) landscape by Chris Turnham, and new local artist to the gallery Bren Luke whose fine crosshatch work is simultaneously precise and dreamy .
I love how these vintage and contemporary works contrast yet sit together so well.
Q5) You have a personal love for the mid century era as many other Melbournians do, how do you feel this exhibition resonates with those who may not have been exposed to mid century design?
Although varied and complex, I think the works have an over riding sense of optimism – one of the defining elements of the era. There was an optimism about the future, and how art, design and architecture could all improve an individual’s and community’s life. Today that optimism is perhaps more potent retrospectively, although I like to think that at least some of that optimism can be applied today as inspiration for the future. And of course I love how the art and design sit so well next to one another.
Q6) Could you tell us about a particular artist and piece which will be featured in the show.
A favourite is the Fabian Lundqvist we’ve used on the exhibition postcard. We have a couple of painting by him in the show, but the one on the card is a striking portrait of a woman in his very stylised figurative style. Lundqvist was a prolific artist working in Sweden from the 1940s through 1970s. In addition to painting he also designed some striking modernist glassware for Alsterfors in Sweden.
Q7) If you could had a bare room in your house which needed to be jazzed up, what 3 things from this exhibition would you put into it and why?
A7) Like the show itself, I would pick a works that contrast with each other. It’s something I’m keen on myself, hence the ongoing theme for the exhibition. My picks would be one of the original vintage works from Scandinavia, one of our mid-century Palm Springs architectural renderings, and one of the very affordable prints by new contemporary artist to the gallery Steve Millington.
Thanks Martin for letting Secret Design Studio use these images, and best of luck with your “Mid-Century Modern Curated” exhibition.
Outre Gallery is at 249-251 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, between Little Bourke Street and Lonsdale Street.
Monday to Thursday 10:30am – 5:30pm
Friday 10:30am – 7:00pm
Saturday 10:30am – 5:00pm
Sunday 12:00pm – 4:00pm
For more information about this exhibition and Outre Gallery please visit their website:
To get advance notice of the artwork that will be displayed at the “Mid-Century Modern Curated” exhibition, and future Outre Gallery exhibitions then complete this form here:
For more information on gallery midlandia please visit here: