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Ewing and George Paton Galleries

Anyone wishing to understand the contemporary art scene in Melbourne during the 1970s and 1980s need look no further than the program of events at the Ewing and George Paton Galleries. In addition to launching the careers of some of Australia’s finest artists, the gallery provided a training ground for some of our most influential Curators. For example, Judy Annear (April 1980 – May 1982) went on to be the founding Director of Artspace in Sydney; Denise Robinson (May 1982 – Jan 1986) became Director of the Australian Centre for Photography; and Juliana Engberg (Feb 1986 –1989), is now Director of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. The list of eminent artists, writers and curators who began their careers at the Ewing and George Paton is very long.

In a unique position at the beginning of the 1970s as Australia’s only avant garde gallery with institutional support, the Ewing and George Paton benefited from the investment of energy made by a large group of young experimental artists and associated students and academics. Amongst the diverse range of exhibitions and events held during the 1970s can be found most of Australia’s acclaimed contemporary artists of today. The gallery fostered experimentation, encouraged new media such as video and performance art and provided a forum for ideas and innovation.

Established in the mid 1970s as the first institutionally supported experimental art space in Australia, the George Paton soon became a model for an emerging network of alternative spaces and centres for contemporary art in Australia. The gallery’s exhibition programs forecast emerging trends in; alternative practice, experimentation with new and hybrid media, the phenomenon of the curator, and the return of painting whilst an exceptional lecture program allowed audiences access to new philosophical and theoretical ideas by leading international and local thinkers, writers and artists.

Since 1994 the Gallery program has continued the visual vibrancy of past years supporting and showcasing student and emerging artist’s artwork from a variety of tertiary institutions and backgrounds. The GPG today exhibits artists with new ideas, and those who are pushing the boundaries and contexts of art. The gallery and its staff are dedicated to assisting young artists and curators to manifest their creative ideas, providing a hands-on experience of exhibiting and curating in a gallery setting.


From the George Paton website