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In The Winter of Our Discontent, John Steinbeck wrote “Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.” Farewell is an appropriate way to say Auf Wiedersehen to Sydney’s Stills Gallery, which will close its doors in June after more than quarter of a century. Although listening to co-directors Kathy Freedman and Bronwyn Rennex the strings to the future may not be quite gnawed through. “Post-Stills, the gallery space will remain and we are in discussions regarding the shape and scope of a new entity that will occupy it,” they hinted.

But for now, the Curtain Call promises to send off the photography-dedicated space with a Victor flash lamp bang and not a whimper.

Gallery assistant Bethan Donnelly said, “We’re planning a huge salon hang of works from artists from the earliest exhibitions up to the most recent.” It’ll be a walk down memory lane with nods to some 50 artists who have been part of the Stills family. The current stable includes household names like Pat Brassington, Polixeni Papapetrou, Patrick Pound and Robyn Stacey. There are also plans to highlight a work a day, not only in the gallery but in a digital capacity too.

Stills has worked its way into the consciousness of the wider Australian art community, its success over the decades can be attributed to the way the space evolved to keep up with major shifts, say the co-directors, in the way “we produce, enjoy and understand photography.”

And so, it is with sweet reluctance that we farewell Stills Gallery.

Curtain Call
Stills Gallery
24 May – 30 June

Varia Karipoff