Art for the ears comes to Mackay’s regional gallery

Published: 01 Jul 2022

Artspace Mackay is usually a quiet place to study works of art, but that will change with the opening of a new exhibition tonight (Friday, July 1).

“Material Sound” will have gallery visitors immersed in a cacophony of sound created by a myriad of materials.

It features newly commissioned work by artists Vicky Browne, Pia van Gelder, Caitlin Franzmann, Peter Blamey, Vincent and Vaughan Wozniak-O’Connor and Ross Manning.

Each of these artists’ work investigates sound and materials within art and performance.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the show would really appeal to families.

“All six works make their own sounds – many are interactive, and they are kinetic works based on movement that encourages audience participation,” Mayor Williamson said.

“Together they will make their own blend of sounds that will have a real impact when you walk into the Main Gallery,” he said.

Material Sound curator Caleb Kelley said this show differed from many shows in that it was an exhibition in an art gallery that was primarily focused on sound.

“There is plenty to look at – there’s installation, there’s movement, there’s interaction – but what we are doing in this show is listening to the exhibition,” Mr Kelley said.

“The artists are all working with sound; they’re all working with ways of thinking about materials through sound,” he said.

“And, by listening, we learn something that we can’t by just looking.”

Also on show, in the Foyer Gallery, is the exciting exhibition We Rise by prominent local artist Shelley Engwirda.

Artspace Mackay director Tracey Heathwood said Shelley explored feminism and looked at the success and failures of the women’s movement in We Rise.

“She has these beautiful large scale patchwork quilts alongside glass work,” Ms Heathwood said.

“With these works she responds to what she considers major moments in the women’s movement from the 1970s to the present,” she said.

Ms Heathwood said the final new exhibition opening tonight was Nathalie Hartog-Gautier: Looking for Paradise, a show that brings refugee experiences to the fore via artists’ books and digital animation.

“Hartog-Gautier highlights Australia’s responsibility as a first signatory of the United Nations Human Rights Charter and examines the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia,” she said.

Material Sound curator Caleb Kelly will deliver a curator’s talk and Brisbane artist Ross Manning will deliver a sound performance at 10.30am, this Saturday (July 2).

Shelley Engwirda will deliver an artist’s talk at 6pm on Thursday, July 14.

Tickets are free and available at

Material Sound is a Murray Art Museum Albury exhibition, curated by Caleb Kelly and presented nationally by Museums & Galleries of NSW. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.