West Gallery Thebarton Rises in an Industrial Afterlife

The new West Gallery Thebarton is throwing its lot in with the best of them this month, opening with its debut exhibition Afterlife amid the creative frenzy that is SALA Festival.

The new contemporary art space and gallery is run by Margie Sheppard, a local artist in her own right, and aims to draw a wide selection of artists to exhibit on its walls and floor. Set in the industrial-cum-trendy streets of Thebarton, Sheppard has taken advantage of her own blank canvas in setting up West Thebarton Gallery. “It was a great big dusty shell when we got in here,” says Sheppard, noting the fresh space gave her free-reign over how to set it all up. “The building just had all that potential, and it’s great to be in an area on its ascendancy.”

 Afterlife-west-thebarton-gallery-adelaide-review-2 Suzie Lockery, Vanishing Point, featuring in Afterlife at West Gallery Thebarton

Sheppard says she was inspired to set up the space in the spirit of the now-closed Adele Boag Gallery, which once sat on Unley Road. West Gallery will have a similar emphasis on print-making as well as a range of local and national artists. “It’s a bit of a pond that some people swim in, so I guess you could say I’m pitching at that market,” she says. Afterlife, West Gallery’s inaugural exhibition, opens on August 4 and will bring together an eclectic mix of 14 artists in a fascinating mixed-media show. Those artists include Simone Tippett, Aleksandra Antic, Sonya Hender, Suzie Lockery, Mei Sheong Wong, Sandra Starkey Simon and Sheppard herself.

Afterlife-west-thebarton-gallery-adelaide-review-2 Margie Sheppard, Heart of Gold, featuring in Afterlife at West Gallery Thebarton

Christobel Kelly is curating Afterlife, and Sheppard says that the exhibition is based around the thoughts of German philosopher Walter Benjamin, and his ruminations on the concept of industry ruination and destruction. Kelly says the show “brings together a group of prominent Adelaide artists who examine the spatial experience of objects, which teeter on the edge of ruination”. Afterlife West Gallery Thebarton Thursday, August 4 until Saturday, September 10 westgallerythebarton.com.au Header image: West Gallery Thebarton Director Margie Sheppard, with curator of Afterlife Christobel Kelly (photo: Shane Reid)

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