Many in the art and mental health sector would be familiar with one of Neami Splash Art Studio’s yearly exhibitions of participant work- although over the next few weeks, Splash will be holding a special survey of work not seen for decades- this work is from the ‘Larundel Collection’.
The genesis of the current Splash program was the innovative art studio at the Larundel Psychiatric Hospital. Inside Out- a survey of the collections of Neami Splash Art Studio chronicles work from this period and continues into Splash’s own history with examples of work spanning more than 25 years.
The Larundel Studio was formed at the hospital in 1989 by two artists who endeavoured to create a space to support “freedom of expression”, “liberty to explore” and the “prime importance of the process of art making”[i] . The studio was open from 9-5 on weekdays with anywhere from 45-80 patients participating in the program every day.
When the hospital closed in 1996, the running of Larundel’s art studio was handed over to Neami, creating what is now Neami Splash Art Studio. Splash also inherited a wealth of art from the studio and this body of work is now known as ‘the Larundel Collection’. Inside Out will be the first time work from the collection will be on display since the closure of the hospital.
The exhibition offers a rare insight into the history of these two significant programs and an opportunity to see captivating work produced by the participants over the course of time.
The opening of the exhibition will be held on Wednesday 22nd from 4-6pm at the Studio (268 Raglan Street, Preston) and will be open to the public from 20th October to 7th November. Gallery hours are 1.30 – 4pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday with the gallery open Sunday 26 October, 11am – 4pm for a special showing of the survey.
For more information on the exhibition or the Larundel Collection, contact Chris Reynolds on 03 9484 7555.
[i] Vince Gilvarry, “Art Access: An Art Program in a Psychiatric Hospital”, Mental Health Week Proceedings, 1993 & Ev Vynhal, “The Neami National Art Studio”, New Paradigm, April 1997
Picture: Untitled, Artist Unknown; Untitled by Max Schilling, 2013