Less than 48 hours away from the grand opening of The Phantom Art Show in Newcastle, and the Newcastle Art Gallery is starting to look like a very cultural and high-end Deep Woods!
Co-curator and Newcastle native Dietmar Lederwasch has taken a lead role in laying out the exhibition, which includes over 50 new pieces inspired by our favourite purple-clad comic strip hero (see the gallery of images at the bottom of this page).
The Show will take pride of place in the Gallery. Dietmar tells us that "This is the top Gallery outside of Sydney, and we've got the whole upstairs display space, which is the largest part of the Gallery. It's one large room with partitions breaking all the different works up; there's four separated sections. It's a fantastic space."
"The 'Skull Cave' is incredible. The room has been specially created for us, then the Skull Cave image has been done with transfer sheets, which took four to five hours to put up."
Inside the 'cave' is the memorabilia display, all items from Dietmar's personal collection. They will be joined inside by some other pieces of art that don't completely blend in with the tone of the rest of the display. According to Dietmar, "It's coming along beautifully. It looks sensational and [with another two days of setting up to go] it's still only halfway there."
Most of the travelling artwork has now arrived from Coffs Harbour and is in place, either on the walls or ready to hang.
"The wall of linocuts looks fantastic! I'm really pleased. It's a collection of eight prints, plus the one for the Solander box, so it's a wall of nine."
It seems that the influx of new work has really changed the overall feel of the exhibition, and will make it yet another unique experience for attendees. "There's one new piece you will really love. It's the Phantom kissing Diana and it's really vivid colours, it's absolutely beautiful!"
One delivery Dietmar is still waiting on is some original Wilson McCoy art, imported all the way from Japan. The 1949 Sunday and Daily art is from the late 1950s and early 1960s, and are on loan from the private collection of James Lee (aka on Facebook as Jimmy James), who is delighted to have them on public display "I purchased them from the Falk estate after visiting Elizabeth Falk in the USA, so they're the real McCoy!" The pieces are now through Australian Customs and just waiting on delivery to the Gallery itself.
While the exhibition is officially on display from 10th June to 20th August, the Grand Opening evening is slated for this Friday 9th June, starting at 5:30pm. While he's mostly focussed on getting the wide variety and huge number of art works up on display, Dietmar is excited about the opening event. "Because it's the 40th Anniversary birthday party, they've decided to scrap the normal entry fee and all come, the more the merrier. It's all free, you don't need invitations."
One particular feature of the opening night will be a special presentation by Earthen Rhythms African Drum and Dance, who will provide the rhythms of West Africa. Opening the show will be Frew co-Director and established Phantom artist, Glenn Ford.
So get to the Newcastle Art Gallery (1 Laman Street Cooks Hill 2300) this Friday night if you possibly can, or at the very least certainly sometime before 20 August!
Gallery of artworks new to The Phantom Art Show in Newcastle: