Interview with Jane RICHENS
the ephemera interviews
In this series of interviews artists directly involved in ARIs and artist-run culture 1980- 2000 speak about the social context for their art making and provide insights into the ephemera they produced or collaborated on during this period. Artist ephemera includes artworks, photocopies, photographs, videos, films, audio, mail art, posters, exhibition invites, flyers, buttons and badges, exhibition catalogues, didactics, room sheets, artist publications, analogue to digital resources and artist files.
Jane Hi and thanks, why does a public archive mapping artist testimonies and artist histories about the ephemeral nature of the vibrant Queensland 1980-1990 artist-run scene matter to you?
I am interested in this project as I believe it’s important these untold stories are put on the public record.
My direct involvement in QLD artist-runs from the 1980s was in many forms – visual arts practice, design, publishing, education, archivist and administration. This involvement was formative and important to my ongoing work life.
During this era I was directly involved as a member of THAT Collective and studio artist at That and later as one of the collective members of Bureau Art Space.
I exhibited at both galleries and within other ARI projects on many occasions, was in Jeanelle Hurst’s INTERFACE, Queensland Bicentennial Art Spaces Project, and exhibited at non-ARI galleries such as the Institute of Modern Art and Milburn +Arte gallery.
As a Queensland based artist at the time I was working with new media, photography, large format photocopies, billboards and masks.
I was a founding member and a chairperson of the Queensland Artworker’s Alliance an organisation that advocated for artist rights and a member of the ‘Eyeline’ magazine founding team.
Artist-runs at this time provided many artists like me an opportunity to establish networks, exhibit works, have the work critiqued by our peers, and to participate in a wide range of related professional activities. ARIs were crucial for many artists at the time as this provided the platform for galleries such as the Institute of Modern Art (IMA), Michael Milburn and Bellas Gallery to view and consider young/new potential artists.
I have been one of the few people to retain and manage an archive of artefacts and published ephemera from this era and I understand the importance of this and other private collections to the collective memory of this era is critical.
My involvement with conservation, archiving, managing collections and publishing ephemeral collections has informed my housing of this collection. I was involved with the AICCM (Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material); volunteer, Conservation Department, Queensland Museum; assistant conservator Expo88; worked in the publishing department at The Powerhouse Museum; worked on digital media exhibits at the Museum of Sydney; and worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Today I continue as a visual artist, graphic designer, trainer and I run a regional community education college.
I am sad to know that this history of Queensland and the rich heritage of ARI activities from this era is largely undocumented.