The Rising West

31 May 2012 | 3:16 pm | Bethany Small

/// Projects are pushing a few artistic buttons at once. Bethany Small find out which ones.

To clarify, that up there in the title of this new initiative is 'three strike' – not 'three strikes' or 'three slashes' or some other permutation. With that cleared up, let's turn our attention to what it actually is: a new artist-run initiative set up by Sydney College Of The Arts graduates James Cooney and Luke Burcher to support and promote artists working in Western Sydney and the Inner West. “We wanted to see exhibitions promoting emerging artists,” Cooney explains, “and bring artists from Western Sydney and the Western Sydney scene into Sydney, get them seen here while they're also taking part in that Western Sydney scene out there establishing itself.”

As well as focusing on a region of the art scene that will be new to a lot of Sydney metro gallery-goers, Cooney and Burcher are working with a new kind of gallery model, where rather than setting up shop and staying there they'll be moving around the different spaces in the city for each show. “The idea of /// Projects,” says Cooney, “is to only exhibit in temporary spaces. We don't want to exhibit in places that are stable, we want to keep it interesting. And artists are being invited to work with the spaces, so there are opportunities for exploring there.”

For their first outing as a gallery, /// Projects have teamed up with The Rocks Pop Up to take over one of the bits of that part of the city they get access to. In a bit of a coup, they're taking over the upstairs of 47 George Street from 23 May to 4 June, overlapping with and hoping to capitalise on all the Vivid Sydney traffic that'll be hitting that area. “The Rocks Pop Up were great with that,” Cooney says, “they helped us get into the space at that time where there'll be people around, and we'll be open in the daytime. And the space is above a cafe, so hopefully that'll bring people in too.”

The debut exhibition kicked off with a party where attendees got live music (Big Dumb Kid and Charles Buddy Daaboul of No Art) as well as the booze people attending openings expect. Artwork by both founders and by emerging Western Sydney artists Nathan Howard, Ben Lang and Hannah Fenton will be featured. “The curation of the show interacts with that space, which is part of the kind of thing we want to try to do with each project,” explains Cooney, “but not necessarily all the artworks so much. As the first exhibition we've put on it's all been a bit haphazard and we've been working out how it all operates, but in the future we're really planning on having that specific kind of interaction where the artist has been in the space and knows it and uses that.”

They're not necessarily the first art-school kids to set up a gallery space, or the first ARI to work across multiple sites or the first people to bring artists from outside the 'usual scene', but it's fairly new and really admirable that /// Projects are doing all those things at once. It'll be interesting to see where Burcher and Cooney take this, and totally exciting too.

/// Projects is displaying at The Rocks Pop Up Gallery until 4 June