Cover image of the review
Beth Maslen, Maternal Figures 11, 2024. Digital print on archival paper, aluminium mounted 60 x 100 cm ed. 1 + 1 ap. Photo: Matthew Ware

Beth Maslen: Maternal Figures

27 Apr 2024
Animal House Fine Arts 12 Apr - 4 May 2024

Here’s a theory: all backyard galleries eventually either die or professionalise. In Naarm, Meow (founded by Hana Earles, Calum Lockey, and Brenna Olver), and Guzzler (founded by David Homewood, Alex Vivian, and Luke Sands), lived hard and died young. Asbestos, which has slowly garnered a multi-generational following and therefore developed a remit outside of its art-school peers, will close this year when its hosts Britt d’Argaville, Aden Miller, and Josh Krum are evicted from their Brunswick East share house. These galleries belong to the art world equivalent of the 27 Club—forever immortalised in death. May their souls rest in peace.

Then, some choose the professionalisation route. Animal House Fine Arts—located in a first-floor Brunswick East disused lawyer’s office—is one such example, albeit in a roundabout way. Opened in 2023 by Matthew Ware, Animal House is somewhat of a successor to the backyard gallery Savage Garden, which Ware founded with fellow artist Jordan Halsall. Ware also cut his teeth at Geoff Newton’s Neon Parc. Animal House is like the baby version of Neon Parc and the grown-up version of Savage Garden (keeping it in the family so to speak). Ware hosts VIP cocktails, stages artist talks, and takes out ads in Art Collector magazine. Of course, the gallery still has the recent-graduate charm of its predecessor. A friend’s little sister makes the cocktails; the talks are conducted on extreme hangovers, and the ad’s photograph is of a dog Ware recently looked after.

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