Magnet finding its way

Magnet finding its way

By Meg Hill

This year was looking like Magnet Gallery’s best ever, it has turned into its worst. But president Michael Silver said the not-for-profit was making the best out of 2020’s unprecedented circumstances.

Based at The District Docklands, the photography gallery is now hosting multiple and concurrent online exhibitions with new virtual gallery software.

“It’s really a response to coronavirus, the gallery being closed and the charity having no income, but it’s also about helping people in photography,” Mr Silver said.

“It means we’re not seen as dead, we’re still alive and giving people a chance to have their work seen.”

Mr Silver said as Magnet was a charity and he and his wife Suzanne worked as volunteers, not taking any income, they had been ineligible for almost all of the grants made available to help struggling small businesses.

“We don’t have any paid employees which means we aren’t on JobKeeper and being on JobKeeper has been a requirement for almost all of the grants,” he said.

“We’re just looking at getting through the year. The lovely people at The District Docklands have reduced our rent and because Suzanne and I don’t take any money out of Magnet it doesn’t cost us a lot to keep going.”

“The virtual gallery gives us the ability to move forward. We’re really on a knife’s edge all the time but there’s exhibitions I can put up now that I couldn’t have done in the past so it’s really quite exciting.”

For the foreseeable future Mr Silver said the program would see Magnet host at least two online exhibitions at once.

The first virtual exhibition was Light by David Wayman.

“David is a very prominent musician but he’s also our best-selling photographer,” Mr Silver said.

“Because he’s a composer we have a different piece of music for each photograph and it plays as you walk by. He shoots nature, reflections, sunsets, but does it in a unique way.”

The second exhibition – Ghosts of a Recent Memory by David Apostal – will run from September 3 to October 4.

“This one is really the opposite world,” Mr Silver said.

“It’s almost abstract – quite grungy. David was second in the National Portrait Prize a few years ago, there’s a lot of depth to his work.” •

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