A new art gallery opened in Geelong this month. Offering quality contemporary art, Boom Gallery is a new destination for art enthusiasts and collectors keen for original work.
Boom Gallery is a welcome addition to the Geelong arts scene which has been, well, booming lately with a spate of innovative exhibitions and gallery concepts. An unprecedented number of people turned up for Boom’s opening night and as the wine flowed freely and the little red dots multiplied on the walls, it was clear the arts crowd were willing to support local talent.
With only a limited number of galleries in Geelong, co-owners Ren Inei and Kate Jacoby saw the need for a new artists’ outlet and embarked on the enterprise ten months ago armed with a passion for the arts and a strong regional focus. They have a clear vision to support artists, both emerging and established.
“We are doing this because we love artwork for a start,” says Ren who is also an artist and part-time art teacher. “We love the arts industry and we love Geelong. We want to offer a destination point for people in Geelong and visitors to the region as well.”
Located in the historic wool mills near the Barwon River, the gallery is positioned in what is fast becoming Geelong’s new arts precinct with photography, dance and artists’ studios nearby. Ren and Kate spent months renovating to create a fresh new contemporary space while ensuring the building retained its industrial heritage featuring exposed brickwork and steel beams, a wooden barn-style door and vintage painted windows.
In one corner of the gallery, a massive concrete benchtop, made by Ren, echoes the building’s industrial aesthetic and forms the centrepiece of the coffee bar. From here the tantalising aroma of roasted coffee beans wafts through the gallery. Coffee aficionados will froth in delight at the selection of rare and specialty-grade coffees on offer, sourced from Geelong’s purveyors of fine coffee, the Coffee Cartel.
Barista skills aside, the new gallery owners bring their own unique talents to the business. Ren had the initial idea of opening a gallery, but although he had the vision and enthusiasm to get things started, it was Kate, a former art teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in Printmaking, who helped bring the idea to fruition with ‘her ability to get things done and a great sense of design.’
Now the gallery is in full swing with over ten artists exhibiting work. Currently showing are contemporary paintings by Kerry Buckland and Glen Smith, illustrative works by Jiri Tibor Novak and Jeff Raglus, landscapes by Ben Fennessy, abstracts by Shelley McKenzie, prints by Anita Iacovella, and sculptural works by John Irving, Kirsty Manger and Zoe Snyder.
A light sculpture crafted from reclaimed materials and woven with traditional Japanese net-making techniques by Melbourne designer Alex Brown takes a prominent place near the entrance. A range of jewellery and installation pieces are also on display as well as a couple of paintings by Ren himself. The work will change regularly with an exhibition planned for October and another in November. Look out for works coming soon by Dana Karski, Gerry Wedd and Michael Shelley.
For the gallery owners, one of the best things about selling artists’ work is the boost it can give to emerging artists. “I’ve been amazed by the way you can actually encourage people along, not only in their art practice but in life, because you are supporting them,” Ren says. “You’ve given them an outlet. You’ve given them some respect or a sense of importance. You ring someone up and say ‘we just sold some work’ and they come in and walk a bit taller.”
Boom Gallery is at 11 Rutland St, Newtown. Open Wednesday to Friday, 9:30am – 4:00pm and Saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm. Phone Kate on 0417 555 101 or Ren on 0428 305 639 or visit the Boom Gallery Facebook page.