Tom O’Hern and Nicola Smith
Date: 17-Oct-2014 – 23-Nov-2014
Location: Contemporary Art Tasmania
Shotgun is a flexible exhibition and curatorial model designed to deliver targeted support and opportunity to Tasmanian artists. Beginning in 2010 this series of projects is the outcome of a significant public private collaboration between Detached Cultural Organisation and Contemporary Art Tasmania.
The 2014 artists: Ross Byers, Dean Chatwin, David Hawley, Jason James, Tom O’Hern and Nicola Smith have participated in a program formulated to assist each artist with their goals. This year there is no exhibition associated with Shotgun and resources have been directed towards a ‘stepped-up’ industry access program and publication.
Publication writers Hannah Mathews (VIC), Quentin Sprague (VIC) and Jasmin Stephens (NSW) have been joined in the 2014 program by Jackie Dunn (NSW), Alexander Godschalk (Netherlands), Kylie Johnson (TAS), Craig Judd (NSW), Daniel Mudie Cunningham (NSW), Brianna Munting (NSW) and Geoff Newton (VIC) . The program has involve studio visits, meetings, workshops and discussion events.
PUBLICATION LAUNCH: 6pm Friday 17 October, 2014
It is timely, after five years, to reflect on the evolution of the Shotgun program and the artists.
2014 – Ross Byers, Dean Chawin, David Hawley, Jason James, Tom O’Hern, Nicola Smith
2013 – Mary Scott
2012 – Joel Crosswell, Lucienne Rickard
2011– Amanda Davies, Andrew Harper
2010 – Scot Cotterell, Sara Maher, Cath Robinson
Shotgun makes demands of its participants: artists, mentors, the Selection Committee and coordinators; and this is because it sets out to reinvigorate the practice of selected individuals within an ever-changing art world. It sounds somewhat cliché but Shotgun is about feeding the intense emotional commitment that artists have and continue to have, which is often lost in art speak, rounds of grant writing and the logistics of getting a show up. What Shotgun aims to do, and we think is successful in doing, is to challenge cotton-wool complacency and make meta-narratives personal so they have individual relevance.
The program privileges a small number of artists. They work with coordinators to plan a schedule of industry access and critical engagement customised to individual needs. The program is not fixed and so has taken many forms throughout its five editions, including: exhibition; mentoring; meetings with visiting industry professionals [artists, curators, gallerists & writers]; workshops; discussion events and commissioned texts. It has been described as a ‘shot in the arm’ or a fast tracking for artists, enabling what may take a number of years for individuals to self-organise to occur over an intense eight-month period .
Although rigorous it is not academic or outcome based. While we speculate that much of the value from Shotgun will be characterized by a ‘slow burn’ over a number of years there have already been demonstrable benefits, most visible being the ambition and assuredness of work developed for the Shotgun exhibitions and the numerous opportunities that have ensued, many of which have occurred in notable commercial and public galleries outside Tasmania. Harder to quantify but perhaps of more importance in creating traction for artists over the long-term are the industry and peer relationships fostered through the project – yes we are speaking networking opportunities. We acknowledge that these collegial relationships drive and sustain art practice today.
Shotgun responds to the fluctuating contemporary art ecologies and shifting knowledge, skills and expectations of artists. Initially devised as an early-career program the selection criteria evolved to include artists at any career-stage. It became evident as the series progressed that artists want more access to key art professionals. We have been able to tailor the program to align with this.
Lastly, we acknowledge the commitment of all those who have contributed to the success of Shotgun, principally the artists – it has been a pleasure.
Kylie Johnson – Contemporary Art Tasmania
Craig Judd – Detached Cultural Organisation
 Shotgun artists are often included in aspects of the program in subsequent years.