Rooftop song at Gallery 26

Photograph of singer on the roof of Gallery 26, with Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background

Jeffrey Hamilton was right. If the newly-opened Gallery 26 is just a flash in the pan, it’s a very bright flash. Last night’s opening party was a wonderful event. My head hurts.

Yes, that’s a woman with a guitar singing on the gallery’s roof, the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. A little later there was fire-twirling too — though the pimple-cam can’t do it justice. There was also a violin-guitar duo playing Beatles covers, and bellydancers from Ghawazi Caravan.

Steve McLaren, the artist behind the gallery, knows how to throw a party.

I particularly liked Steve’s mixed-media pieces I looked into the fire but I couldn’t run and Slash and burn and the people it replaces, which are currently on display in the “featured artists” room upstairs.

Another highlight — apart from Jeffrey’s stunning-as-usual stained glass — was Isabella Mackay‘s What You Already Know (pictured). Her complex combination prints, using collagraph and aluminium etching on Magnani paper, have a rich texture that doesn’t receive justice from this tiny image.

What You Already Know by Isabella Mackay

My only criticism is that the photography isn’t as strong as the rest of the work. The strongest were Paul Vanzella‘s large-scale prints on canvas. Bold and graphic with a painterly feel. The rest, though, didn’t tell me anything new. Competent, certainly, but not outstanding. However I do set high standards for photography (apart from my own, of course).

As one patron said, at the very worst you can say that a piece is “good”, and most of it is much better.

The range of works on display is huge — too many for me to run through now. If you’re in Sydney, I encourage you to explore.

Gallery 26 is open 10am to 6pm, 7 days a week at 26 Alfred Street, Milsons Point.