The Art of Sound comes to Grafton

Rona Green, _Hud and Mugsy_ (2008)Rona Green, _Hud and Mugsy_ (2008)

The Art of Sound, a new exhibition which examines the intersections between sound and the visual arts, will be open to the public at Grafton Regional Gallery from 23 January – 13 February, presented in partnership with the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA).

The exhibition will be launched with a free BBQ, presented by the Friends of the Gallery at 5pm on 24 January. The event will also be the official launch of the 2013 Clarence Valley Council Australia Day celebrations, and feature a thong throwing and Aussie accent competition.

The Art of Sound focuses on the NFSA’s sound collection. NFSA curators compiled a ‘sound palette’ for the project – a package of 50 Australian sound recordings that represent the breadth and diversity of the sound collection. This palette includes songs, speeches, experimental works, spoken word, orchestral compositions and environmental recordings.

The palette was then shared with Grafton Regional Gallery, whose curators explored both the sounds of the palette and the gallery’s own collections to create unique combinations, linking sound recordings to selected artworks that they felt complemented or ‘matched’ each other.

The Art of Sound reflects the culture of the Clarence Valley, especially its strong Aboriginal and surfing cultures,” said Grafton Regional Gallery Director Jude McBean. “The artworks are from our collection and most will be familiar to our audience. Two thirds are by artists from or of the North Coast Region, and ten are by artists of the Clarence Valley.”

The Art of Sound is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach (NCITO) Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians. The Grafton exhibition will be followed in June by another edition of The Art of Sound at the Holmes à Court Gallery at Vasse Felix in Margaret River, Western Australia.

“We’re very excited about The Art of Sound and the opportunity to partner with regional art galleries and share our sound collection with communities such as Grafton,” said Michael Loebenstein, CEO of the NFSA. “This project offers novel – and I hope exciting and inspiring – pathways to our Australian cultural heritage: a treasure trove to explore; a place of discovery and new creation.”

Highlights of The Art of Sound include:
• Aine’s Council for Peace matched with the opening concert of the Sydney Opera House.
• Reg Mombassa’s Heaven and Hell with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Red Right Hand.
• Rona Green’s Hud and Mugsy with Hilltop Hoods’ Clown Prince.
• Frederic Bates’ Ringers in the Normanton Albion with Tex Morton’s Wrap Me up with My Stockwhip and Blanket.
• Visitors to the gallery and the cafe will be able to enjoy Billie Peach ‘the talking budgie’ and voices from the past drifting out the well and from the surrounding gardens.

Other exhibiting collection artists include Gordon Bennett, Judy Cassab, Jodi Daley, Karla Dickens, Ken Done, Robert Hulland, John William Lindt, Dickie Minyintiri, Reg Mombassa, Robert Moore, Gladys O’Grady, Frances Belle Parker, Mike Riley, Cass Samms, Bevan Skinner, Ken Smith, Robyn Sweaney, Michael Taylor and John Witzig.

Producer and Manager of the NFSA’s Regional Programs, Brendan Smith, said: “ The Art of Sound has evolved into quite a complex and engaging program – there is so much to think about technically and artistically. I’m really excited to see how the sound and art will go together in the gallery spaces, how the different sounds interact with each other, and how audiences interact and engage with the exhibition. I hope people enjoy the combo of art and sound and think about the choices that have been made…and that it gets them thinking what sound or art they would have matched up instead.”

To encourage a conversation between the team behind the exhibition and the public, a 'Curators Forum’ will take place on 9 February. The free event will feature a panel of key people involved in The Art of Sound, discussing the selection of sounds and artworks and the connection between them.

The following people are available for interview: The Art of Sound producer Brendan Smith, NFSA Sound Curator Thorsten Kaeding, Grafton Regional Gallery Director Jude McBean, and Sound Installation Specialist James Hurley.


Please contact Miguel Gonzalez on 02 8202 0114 or email