First Coat Studios is committed to hosting frequent art exhibitions with interest in fostering critical ideas and practices in contemporary art. Below is an archive of our previous shows.

Summer Smorgasboard Group Exhibition & Annual Fundraiser

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

First Coat Studios presents 'Summer Smorgasboard', an annual group show featuring local artists, co-curated by Jade Cournty and Rhys Archer. A fundraiser for our 2020 public programs, ’Summer Smorgasboard’ features 30+ artworks, donated by the artists and priced to sell.  (all works available for under $300).

Exhibiting artists include: Alice Rigby, Angela Mottram, Belinda Sinclair, Brontë Naylor, Catherine Parker, Chelsie Luck, Chris Abrahams, Clairy Laurence, Crystal McLaughlin, Dan Elborne, Darcy Campbell, David Usher, Davina Else, Dwight Smithereens, Emily Young, Emma Entwisle, Frank Lee Frivolous, Ian McCallum, Jade Courtney, Jon Vargas, Kyle Jenkins, Lauren Covely, Laurie Oxenford, Liam Fitzgibbon, Linsey Walker, London Heir, Miranda Sampson, Monica Usher, Natasha Wills, Nathaniel Kemp, Naomi Luscombe, Peta Berghofer, Paddy Long, Peter Osborn, Rhi Johnson, RC Archer , Sandy Pottinger, Stephen Spurrier,  Tamara Smithee and Ute Braatz.

First Coat Studios is a non profit, volunteer run and creative led outfit. Our annual fundraiser directly supports our 2020 Public Programs.


Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

Welcome to the garden of delights with a group show from artists Clairy Laurence, Belinda Sinclair and David Usher present their latest works across the mediums of painting, sculpture and photogravure.  

OPENING DETAILS: Friday 1st November, 7 - 9PM

Bar supported by Stone & Wood Brewing. RSVP here.

Image: Clairy Laurence 'theres a stick on my head', 2019
stoneware, $350


Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

RELOADED a group exhibition of First Coat Studio artists celebrating the connections of working within a shared space while exploring their individual practise though their chosen mediums of ceramics, painting, photography, printmaking, and video

The works in RELOADED represent a diverse range creative ideas from a group artists who are busy exploring new worlds and generating new visual narratives through their individual practices, and collectively as part of an artist-run initiative.

Artists: Angela Mottram, Bindi Wenitong, Catherine Parker,  David Usher, Jade Courtney, Katie Whyte, Margaret Isaac, Rhys Archer, Kretser

RENE DANIKA ‘Left. Right. Revolt.’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

Brisbane based artist Rene Danika presents ‘Left, Right, Revolt’; a solo exhibition examining personal encounters with and the rejection of tradition. Culminating in three large scale installations, Danika questions self and society through symbolism and materiality.

In this body of work, reclaimed objects, taxidermy, faux fur, and dried flowers are saturated by bitchumen, acrylic and enamel. The toxicity of these mediums are used as a framework through which the artist questions political extremes and inherited philosophies, and ultimately their influence on her own morality.

Materials are chosen through personal symbolism; bitchumen as structure and foundation, ornate frames as confinement, skin textures as ideas, and tape as the quick fix. Uniformed by colour, the works become an immersive environment inviting the viewer to sit with darkness.

About the Artist
Queensland born installation artist, Rene Danika is in her second year of a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Canberra University. She has curated and exhibited in groups across Australia. In October 2018, Danika undertook a four week residency at First Coat Studios, where she began the development of ‘Left, Right, Revolt’.



Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘REM Sleep’ is the debut solo exhibition by Toowoomba-local artist Davina Else. In this series of paintings, Else combine images of loved ones or peers sleeping with an array of found or imagined imagery, representing the individuals’ vivid or clouded dreams. Drawing inspiration not only from the sometimes nonsensical dreams but the strong emotions and sensations that can be experienced. By using photos taken of sleeping people as reference, Else is juxtaposing moments that were real in time with the surreal or artificial collaged around them.


CHLOE DALAMARAS ‘Per Mutua Nexis (Intertwined)’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘Per Mutua Nexis (Intertwined)’ is a series of images that explores the unspoken and often forgotten connection between the earth and the self. The body of work features Queensland-based dancers Lucy Hood, Jessica Jane and Brock Eric interacting with the natural structure of an Australian oceanic landscape.

Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” ― Jacques-Yves Cousteau

With a focus on water and air, Dalamaras fuses environmental elements and the physical form through similar tones, merging earth and human into one. With a background as a dancer and performer, she used her knowledge of shapes, linework and colours to merge together the dancers and the surrounding environment capturing moments of stillness against the constantly shifting landscape. The artist aims to draw connections to the subtle similarities between the earth, the elements and the human form. Dalamaras comments on the current relationships society can have with the earth and the beauty that can be found when they connect and respond.

About the Artist
Chloe Dalamaras is an emerging visual artist & photographer based in Toowoomba. With a camera in hand, she is constantly drawn to creating interesting imagery of people and their surroundings.
Three years ago, after shooting her first roll of 35mm film, she decided to switch from shooting digitally and instead began working exclusively with 35mm & medium format film. Creating within the analogue format has uniquely shaped Dalamaras’ artistic process as a photographer. Her photoshoots are limited to 24 - 36 exposures meaning that every single shot counts - forcing her to slow down and really focus on what she wants within the frame.

Emerging Artist LAB 2019

Chloe Dalamaras and Mariska Fenner have been involved in the First Coat Studios 'Emerging Artist LAB' over the past three months. This program supports these two early career artists through a free studio residency, professional mentorship and exhibition outcome. This program has been made possible thanks to the Regional Arts Development Fund, auspiced by BackBone Youth Arts.⁣⁣⁣



Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

In the past, Fenner’s collage process has involved cutting and pasting the figure or focal point of an image. In this recent body of work, Fenner has been more interested in the remnants of that process: the imagery that remains in the absence of the figure. These new works have served as a vehicle for her own human experience in dealing with the death of a close friend. They reflect the innate human ability to find hope, create meaning and restructure a life in the context of loss.

About the Artist
Mariska Fenner is an emerging, multidisciplinary artist, working in Toowoomba, Queensland. She has recently completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts through the University of Southern Queensland and has participated in a number of group exhibitions and artist exchanges. Her main practice incorporates both painting and printmaking techniques, with a focus on collage and the layering of unrelated imagery to construct narratives.

Emerging Artist LAB 2019

Chloe Dalamaras and Mariska Fenner have been involved in the First Coat Studios 'Emerging Artist LAB' over the past three months. This program supports these two early career artists through a free studio residency, professional mentorship and exhibition outcome. This program has been made possible thanks to the Regional Arts Development Fund, auspiced by BackBone Youth Arts.⁣⁣⁣


The Sleep Window ‘Research For a Free Life’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘Research for a Free Life’ examines the t h r e s h o l d between gentle and strong. This space is made by means of psychic check-ins (real or imagined) with the choices made by family members (genetic or chosen) before the artist. An authenticity of sexuality, identity and home are constructed here via work, salvage and craft. Also, by looking and listening… intuiting. Fabric accompanies film to accentuate the maker in filmmaker that is a new part of the artist’s practice. Each stitch and each frame are understood as a way to cross over which is the ultimate invitation of The Sleep Window.

About the Artist:
Skye Thompson is a Toowoomba based filmmaker who has constructed The Sleep Window as the psychic space required for her practice to exist. Completing a degree in screen production at QCA in the 90’s she was part of the last cohort of film students who shot and edited on 16mm film. Further study in creative writing and gender studies (now defunct RIP) at the University of Qld led to her identifying as an archivist while living in Melbourne. Later she flirted with craftivism while living in East London in 2010. Since travelling to Japan and learning about Mingei she has shifted focus to emphasise the maker in filmmaker.


Natasha Wills ‘Nothing But Personal Mythology’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘Nothing But Personal Mythology’ is a solo exhibition by Toowoomba based artist Natasha Wills. Through her processes of gestural mark making and assemblages of found objects, Wills discusses the physical and mental structures that exist simultaneously and inseparably in our bodies.

Led by the shapes and forms that emerge in, and through the materials, this new body of work takes shape intuitively through an array of paper and sculptural works. The bold lines that weave through the objects, planes, and gestural markings, in her paper works, act as a scaffold that both contains the restrained palette and emphasises the character of movement and energy in each work. This play of gestural immediacy and pictorial depth provides a rich field for both graphical exploration and spatial experimentation.

Exploring the nonsensical and pursuing the strange, Wills’ sculptural works are a collection and assemblage of found objects that portray her playful curiosity for the absurd. Drawn to found objects as a point of departure, Wills’ emergent material structures retain traces of their bodily origins but become something new in themselves. Nothing makes sense but at the same time everything fits together.

Australian visual artist Natasha Wills is a prolific maker working across painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, and artist books. Her work balances intuitive mark making and assemblage with two decades of practice and refinement. Trained in Fine Arts at Sydney College of the Arts and Newcastle Art School, Wills has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions nationally.


Barry Hate ‘Chopping the Deadwood’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘Chopping the Deadwood’ is a solo exhibition of new paintings by emerging artist, Harry Bate. These works aim to unpack personal feelings of inadequacy and monotony that the artist has struggled with for a large portion of his life.

Hate hails from the regional city of Cairns, a place where it feels small enough to be talked about but big enough to feel isolated, and months can drag without even noticing. This feeling of entanglement, in a backdrop of torrential rain followed by a thick blanket of humidity, is, at times, a confronting creative climate.

‘Chopping the Deadwood’ composes natural environment and familiar objects, such as bread and cigarettes, to discuss the tedium of the everyday. Using repetition and bold colour palettes, Hate shares a humorous approach to making and storytelling through the lens of a punk kid growing up in the tropics.

Growing up in the harsh tropical climate will turn anyone mad, and Harry is no exception. Barry Hate (real name Harry Bate) is a visual artist that has been living and drawing in Cairns for most of his life.

Harry tries to capture the tropical lows and the sugar highs of growing up in Far North Queensland that is unique in its own simultaneously cool/un-cool manifesto and combine these with international influences of music, skateboarding, and Mike Judge to form a surreal look into life up North. Is he successful? Ask him and he would say no…
… but art is subjective, isn’t it?


Chelsie Luck ’Rainy day, cloudy day or sunny day.’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

This new body of works is a continuation of Chelsie Luck’s shift in style from illustrative figurative paintings to abstract expressionism. Luck happened across this new chapter in her practice last year while she was completing her honours. Her studio practice was tilted by an apocalyptic impulse and became about destroying the old to make way for the new.

Luck views these paintings as abstract emotional landscapes. Each painting has numerous layers, built up over days, that becomes more apparent with further inspection and contemplation by the viewer. She used a lot of titanium white allowing the under layers and colours peek through like memories. With a more subdued and calm colour pallet this body of work not as dark and violent as past works. The titles of the work also hint at a subtle narrative.

London Heir ‘She’s been here before’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘She’s been here before...’ is a solo exhibition of new paintings by Toowoomba based emerging artist, London Heir. In this series of self portraits, London discusses the concept of growing up and it’s influence in shaping her creative output. Inspired by her formative years in the Ukraine and later Australia, London draws upon personal memories and her inquisitive nature in the work. Through vignettes of everyday moments, London collages her experiences to revisit a sense of wonder and curiosity of her childhood.

Using watercolour and mixed media embellishments, London’s dream-like aesthetic layers intimate settings of the home and natural environments. In this way, she invites the viewer to pause for reflection and consider their own curiosity. Each work acknowledges pivotal chapters of growth which in some way have informed both London’s character and ultimately her creative practice.

Working under her pseudonym ‘London Heir’, Brittany Smit is an emerging visual artist based in Toowoomba, Queensland. Growing up in the Ukraine, London was exposed to new modes of femininity which has significantly influenced her work today. Her practice explores ethereality and juvenescence, working predominantly with the female form. Through realistic subject matter and painterly processes, she discusses self-referential themes of empathy and the complexities of the human condition.

Gary Abkin ’Australia and Australians’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘Australia and Australians’ is a solo exhibition of observational paintings by Ipswich Artist, Gary Abkin. Through naive realism and gestural mark making, Abkin protests against logic and reason with a quiet serenity.

In this new work, Abkin presents two series of portraits; one abstract and the other illustrative. Abkin discusses perceived Australian identities through depicting bushranger anti-heroes, prophets, and everyday people in unexpected places. In this way, he invites the viewer to explore new narratives; combining the serious and the comic.

Posed and self-reflective, Abkin’s portraits form part of his own personal enquiry into Australian history. His explorations of colour and texture form playgrounds for human figures, blurring the boundaries between shadows, myth, and existence.

American Australian artist, Gary Abkin is a prolific maker working across the fields of painting, sculpture and music. His highly charged sense of humanity’s illogical behaviour defines his aesthetic. With absurd familiarity and subversive honesty, Abkin is a material led, contemporary story teller.Prior to relocating to Ipswich in 2003, Abkin studied painting at the California Institute of the Arts and his Honors degree at the San Francisco Art Institute. He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Australia.

Kane Brunjes ‘Overflow’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

Kane Brunjes is a Murri man from Murgon practicing in both public and gallery realms. Through creating art Brunjes aims to solidify and represent a visual portrayal of how he views and reacts to the environment surrounding him. Continuing from a rich history of culture he paints a contemporary reimagined vision through dots and lines. He has been working alongside other Indigenous artists under the initiative to reignite the ceramic art creation in Cherbourg and works with Digi Youth Arts, an organisation that shares the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. Inspired by those around him Brunjes finds appreciation in the development of his practice.

The exhibition addresses portrayals of observations from surrounding environments with influence from culture, love, and Brunjes’ lived experience as a young man. The works are guided by pieces of recently written poetry and moments surrounding the near past, framed as a collage of varied thoughts. The words are present to enhance the visuals while allowing for connection through another form. The appearance is subject to evoke an emotion or experience specific to the viewer. Many aspects formed from simply applying the paint in a manner to the feelings and thoughts expressed at the time. This supported the colour choice, the words and the movement of the piece. Thus some works have organically formed while others have had a foreseen vision regarding what was to be communicated. This method compliments the experiences as some are of the present linking to hopes of the future, while others are reminders of the past.

‘Post Premises’ Group Exhibition Curated by Grace Dewar & Laurie Oxenford

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘Post Premises’ is a group exhibition celebrating 12 Australian artists and their collective responses to physical signs removed from their original context. Curated by Laurie Oxenford & Grace Dewar, ‘Post Premises’ discusses human interactions with everyday environments.

Using repurposed exterior signage from Toowoomba’s iconic Metropole Hotel, First Coat Studios’ artists have considered these weathered objects, and their existing purpose, palette, text and surfaces, as a point of departure for new work.

Exhibiting artists include Bronte Naylor, Catherine Parker, David Usher, Emily Young,Grace Dewar, Ian McCallum, Jade Courtney,Kirsty Lee, Laurie Oxenford, Linsey Walker, London Heir and Peta Berghofer.

Through diverse contemporary practices in sculpture, painting, photography, ceramics and video art, ‘Post Premises’ invites a dialogue between the object and the artist. Each sign has been altered or responded to, allowing for a slippage of ideas and a sense of play between the signifier (the physical sign) and the signified (the sign’s meaning).

Mitchell Schulz ‘Distance’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

'I relish in thinking about distance - whether it is measured or conceptual, undertaken or planned. These pieces of work are my journey into extrapolating why I am intrigued by it.
My paintings are the result of research into the exploration by others; my photographs are moments where I have discovered 'distance' during my own exploration.' - Mitchell Schultz

Mitchell Schultz is a Northern Rivers based emerging artist. His works portray conceptual, expressive translations of the world and situations around him, be it place, person or object. Working across a variety of mediums; Mitchell's diverse practice is concerned with the creation of an image through immediacy, research and observation.

Drawing inspiration from the agricultural drive of his local landscape, machinery has become a recurring theme of Mitchell’s recent practice. Through theoretical analysis of such objects, the artist uses colour and shape to artfully portray his fascination with the function and practicality of these everyday machines - their complex simplicity, usefulness & ability to perform a task.

Mitchell’s recent body of work ‘Distance’ juxtaposes floating phrases and disjointed imagery, creating kaleidoscope caricatures of exploratory space vessels. Using acrylic on paper; these works dance a fine line between beauty and chaos; however, it is the chaos that holds the viewer's attention and unites the compositions. There is a distinct open-ended quality to painted works as if the artist had suspended work to come back to it in the future - allowing the viewer to be immersed in the work, reaching a conclusion of their own.

More about the artist:

MORE MORE MORE Group Exhibition & Annual Fundraiser

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

Co-curated by Emily Young & Linsey Walker, 'More More More' is First Coat Studios' annual group show featuring emerging and established artists from the Toowoomba Region. A fundraiser for our 2019 Public Programs, ’More More More’ features 40 artworks, received by donation and priced to sell (all works available for under $200).

Exhibiting artists include: Aileesha Detmers, Andrew MacDonald, Catherine Parker, Chelsie Luck, Crystal McLachlan, Dan Elborne, Darcy Campbell, David Usher, Davina Else, Del Baldoviso, Emily Young, Emma Shepherd, Fiona Cockfield, Frank Lee Frivolous, Georgia Breedon, Ian McCallum, Jade Courtney, Johanna Park, Katie Wagner, Karri McPherson, Kirsty Lee, Kyle Jenkins, Lauren Covely, Laurie Oxenford, Linsey Walker, London Heir, Miranda Sampson, Monica Usher, Natasha Wills, Nathan Hass, Peta Berghofer, Peter Osborn, Rora Elwell, Sandy Pottinger, Sarah Ryan, Stephen Spurrier, Sue Lostroh, Sue McMaster, Susan Lynch, Tarn McLean, Two Anonymous Artists & Ute Braatz.

First Coat Studios is a non profit, volunteer run and creative led outfit. Our annual fundraiser directly supports our 2019 Public Programs – preview our plans for next year here.

WEATHER LORE Belinda Sinclair

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

Belinda Sinclair is a Redcliffe based Visual Artist and Printmaker with a focus on photo-media. Inspired by the landscape Belinda's work engages with spirits of place to explore states of unease and disquiet against the backdrop of an increasingly complex world.

Earth and Sea, spirits at the edge of the unseen, 'Weather Lore' is a suite of images engaging the viewer in place and magic. Navigating the space between people, environment and time, images emerge in the twilight and in the liminal spaces of the sea in its tides, here messengers of the air strike their pose, boundless upon the earth.

Evolving from a significant interest in science fiction, folklore and the occult, Sinclair’s works serve as portals into her inner world building and utopian praxis. Engaging with symbolic play, observation and the interaction between the human and the more than human, the photogravures featured in Weather Lore developed over a turbulent two year period defined by fire, storm and flood; and represent the beginning of a new chapter in Sinclair’s practice.

More about the artist:

Bronte Naylor ‘All the Time’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

Naylor’s latest body of work uses the ‘collage’ as a strategy to develop aesthetic stages allowing the series of paintings, digital prints, relief wall installation and video based works to both recall and manipulate images holding them in varying states of real and artificial realities. The works collectively explore two notions: the quality of memory and secondly its ongoing continual state in a personalised engagement. The accuracy of our memory recall, as we know, is anything but linear. Instead as time passes the common accepted theory is that our memories fade over time and we can’t remember the finite details of what once was experienced. However through the use of the ‘collage’ this exhibition is saying that what actually occurs when we recall past memories (and those images attached) is a strengthening of that which is remembered because it becomes empowered by the fact that it is now not hidden amongst extraneous imagery. Through the paring back of time as an internal filter, it allows each of our personalised memories to become a strengthening of fragments that aren’t actually ‘fragments’ but instead the actual core of the memory – the true essence of what it really is.

The works are constructed through the combination of initial staged photography that was then digitally manipulated. Through such a process the work invites the viewer to consider the difference between emulation and presentation, these two themes mirror ideas behind the constructs of memory. By contrasting these two conditions, a question of interference through such things as technology impacts our perception through time, place and medium. The ‘stage’ is an important ‘facet’ of the work because the actual artworks are dealing in flat layers of aesthetic truth. The staged scenes become isolated worlds where voyeurism plays a role through the camera lens. Then as these photographs are digitally manipulated their originality is transferred to the surface of the artwork where the building up of fragments taken from multiple photographic sources becomes a new aesthetic world, a new way of constructing a new reality, a new visual truth and the once original constructed source stage is now an abstraction that once was. Firstly the reference images are high staged with harks back to cinema, and theatrical devices that are about constructing non-real places and experiences that are real in their own existence. The artworks in the exhibition appear to look like as if they are re-created by slack stagehands that are working in our memory faculty. Re-creating an ordinary experience using ratchet props and shot lighting, through the photographic lens the image is captured and is transferal to digital storage to then be retrieved and revisited through digital collage. The stages are both real, as in they exist, but they are unreal because they are invented environments.

Alice Weinthal ‘Otherwise’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

I draw and paint what are largely thought to be self portraits; androgynous staring faces, characters at home in their ambiguous surrounds either confronting or completely indifferent to their audience. In recent times I have been trying to re-examine why these images come from me, and how.

Studying art through kaleidoscopic reproductions on our phones can suggest an even playing field for artists; same tools, same audience, same scoring system. Lashings of likes from ambitious players can influence and direct content and creation. I am trying to turn back the clock and turn out the lights. Making art fun again is my key ambition with this show. By attempting to exhibit process over product I hope to get comfortable as an artist and have an excellent time.

Laurie Oxenford ‘ALTER’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

Presented by First Coat Studios, AL-TER is a collection of new sculptural forms by Australian artist, Laurie Oxenford. Her third solo exhibition for 2018, Oxenford continues her ongoing exploration of repositioning found objects and recycled industrial materials in a gallery space. AL-TER discusses the purpose of materials and objects, especially those whose sole purpose is to construct such spaces as the gallery, and how they can be contextualised as art within that same environment. In doing this she draws upon ideas and processes explored in the Minimalist, Assemblage and Arte Povera movements.  

Oxenford documents and responds to her own interactions with natural and urban landscapes and the nature of each functional object within that dialogue. By inviting functional, everyday and non-traditional art materials into an exhibition context, she challenges art making expectations and the value of material in art. By leveraging ideas that undermine expectations of what should be found in the gallery space, she is able to move materials that usually hide beneath the surface, to a place where they become static vessels for ideas.

Function and consequently un-function are explored through intuitive placement of forms. This allows the artist’s experiences and alterations made in the studio to add new meaning to objects. In this way, Oxenford draws upon the ideas attached to her materials, acknowledging how they have existed previously and the ways that they can be altered. Non-traditional installation methods serve as vehicle for the audience to participate in a reverent appreciation of ‘mundane’ materials, giving new authority to purposeful things that can no longer be used.

Jake Twigg ‘NOT EVIL ENUF’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘NOT EVIL ENUF’ is the perpetual, abyssal descent into the theory of mind. Deluded by the notion of a universal consciousness that is shared by all living entities, ‘NOT EVIL ENUF’ is an attempt to explore the fundamentally darker aspects of what it means to be human. Questions without answers. Wisdom without experience. Death without Life.  

Toowoomba-based artist Jake Twigg's work places real world situations in a different skin. He draws inspiration from the history of the occult/alchemical arts and how certain icons can initiate thoughts and ideas upon the viewer. This body of work is a stroll into the realm between superstition and skepticism, from the artist’s perspective. Valuing aesthetics over underlying messages within the work itself, ‘NOT EVIL ENUF’ looks towards the world of occult figures, mainly the demon, running parallel to the moments of everyday modern life.


Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

In, “Deeply disturbed and surprisingly functional”, emerging artists Jacinta Giles and Annelize Mulder aim to deliver concepts relating to disturbances in the human experience. It is safe to say that each person contains carry the remnants of various life occasions, both good and bad. The flippant reference to being “disturbed” yet functioning, suggests that humans are mostly functional, burying darker moments, that continue to linger throughout life. In this exhibition, the artists scratch at these deeply embedded components through imagery, metaphor and abstraction.

Jacinta Giles and Annelize Mulder are emerging artists from Brisbane, both at various stages of post-graduate studies at the Queensland College of Art. Giles' and Mulder’s art practices are diverse yet forge strong commonalities. Giles' practice uses the materiality of photomontage and film editing to capture the fragility of 'humanness'. Often described as painterly and poetic, her cinematically composed vignettes suggest half-remembered dreams or memory traces of a real in an increasingly abstracted world. Mulder’s practice centres around migration experiences and specifically that of South African migrants. Memory triggers and traces of a violent society often surface involuntarily for these migrants. These moments are investigated through sculpture and installation in an attempt to capture these disconcerting feelings. Giles' and Mulder’s works are layered with the legacies of human interaction and the troubling side of life. Both artists arrive at a central place that deals with these experiences, initiated from different vantage points.


Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

In the book The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton describes how he resolved to travel to the island of Barbados after receiving a brochure with an image that reminded him of William Hodges’ painting, Tahiti Revisited (1776). A mere photograph of a ‘palm tree gently inclining in a tropical breeze’ created a fantasy that was complete within de Botton’s mind. Similarly, many of Cockfield's fantasies have been sparked by the most simple experiences, ideas and imagery, forged from reality and re-created as fantasy. This concept is the premise for 'Postcards from Italy'.

Fantasies, by their very nature, encompass much of the ‘real’ and therefore shift from that pure space of the imagination into the interstitial space between the concrete and the abstract. This concept has been an aspect of Cockfield's practice for quite some time. For this exhibition, she explores the philosophical premise of the real and the abstract on a personal level whereby Cockfield's experiences of travel and ideas of lifestyle form the material for her fantasies of escapism, purity and simplicity of life


Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

'A social object is a shared resource that connects the people who create, own, use, critique, or consume; facilitating an exchange among those who encounter them. It is a reason for socialisation.' - Grace Dewar

A Social Object. is a collaborative exhibition by Australian artists, Ellie Farrington, Grace Dewar, Kirsty Lee, Laurie Oxenford, Peta Berghofer, Rianna Hollsten-Provenzano and Theresa Hall.  Presented by First Coat Studios (6th - 25th August 2018), A Social Object. positions the artist collective as a shared resource and explores how we connect through artforms and social spaces to create meaning.

Within the parameters of their individual and combined practices, each artist has developed new work in a visceral response to a 25m x 15m white drape. Culminating in a series of sculptures, photographs and digital works, this site-specific installation provokes a new point of departure for art making.

Kirsty Lee '[OUR ] COMING OF AGE'

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

'[our ] coming of age' is the debut solo exhibition of Australian movement artist and videographer Kirsty Lee. With a collection of new digital works, Lee forays into the world of video art with an installation that challenges our understanding of storytelling.

Imbued with colour, speed, repetition, and form, '[ our ] coming of age' is a visual ode commenting on the nature of change; as seventeen years of motherhood transitions with her sons coming of age, and in turn, her own. This project serves as a vehicle to human experience in which Lee curates gesture, emotion, experience and form in such a way to digest the grief and celebration surrounding this passage of time.

Lee layers real and imagined visuals to harness a sense of wonder. Through raw and vulnerable ambiguity, she shapes both her own narrative, while inviting the viewer to position themselves with in it.

Jess Milne 'CLYDE'

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

Melbourne based artist, Jess Milne, produces work that undergoes it’s conception during travel. For ‘Clyde’ she reverses this statement and attempts to create work a traveller can rely upon. Accompanied by performance artist, Lachlan Stuckey, Jess conducted a week long experiment between Melbourne and Toowoomba in an effort to camp ‘successfully’ with an array of camping equipment fabricated in the studio. These objects lived double lives as art and as camping apparatus’ for the duration of the trip, once installed at First Coat they have become artefacts of performance. As each object was experimented with it’s meaning was unfurled, the resulting exhibition comprises a trail of visual information created between Melbourne and Toowoomba.

‘Clyde’ is the name of my van, it is the conduit for the travel that informs my art practice.’ - Jess Milne

Opening Event:
Friday 13th July, 7 - 9pm

Stephen Payton 'man/woman'

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘man/woman’ is a conceptual installation drawing together new and selected poems with a focus on the androgyny of mind. The concept formulated upon the reading of Haruki Murakami’s Men without Women; in addition to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

Woolf suggests that when a fusion of the male-female mind takes place it is “resonant and porous; that it transmits emotion without impediment; that it is naturally creative, incandescent and undivided.”This marks the first the solo exhibition for Toowoomba based multi-disciplinary artist, Stephen Payton. As an English Literature graduate with a hungry appetite for the ‘art’ of storytelling, Payton is interested in how ‘literary affect’ can arouse emotion and memory in the individual.

Concerning himself with the way in which language in its unedited, unadulterated state can convey more with fewer words. Payton cites the aforementioned Murakami, and Woolf as influences as well as the large-scale poetry installations of Robert Montgomery.Payton has found creating art by observing and celebrating the mundanity of daily-life in the poetic form the rawest and sincerest of his artistic ability. He produced a number of poems traveling throughout Turkey, Spain, and Morocco in 2016-17 which he cites as a progressive shift towards a stream-of-consciousness style.

Opening Event:
Friday 13th July, 7 - 9pm


Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘Hot-Box Healing (and Servo Sunsets)’ is the third exhibition by serial collaborators, David Usher & Ian McCallum. A homage to the great Australian road trip, this exhibition explores the wonders of the service station as golden beacons of hope and healing.  

This series of large format paintings use a mixture of mark making and metallic paint to pay tribute to the phenomenon of the ‘Hot Box’. Inspired by hand-painted menus and their DIY add ons, ‘Hot-Box Healing (and Servo Sunsets)’ celebrates Australian service stations as unadopted monuments of our time. Varying from their previous creative collisions, in ‘Hot-Box Healing (and Servo Sunsets)’ Usher revisits his earlier illustrative approach and hand style typography. Combined with McCallum’s signature block lettering and social commentary, each piece is centred by the illusive bain-marie and it’s medicinal magic.

Opening Event:
Friday 22nd June, 7 - 9pm

Jennifer Spalding 'GENERASIAN'

'Generasian’ is the debut solo exhibition by emerging artist, Jennifer Spalding. This collection of paintings are expressions of how she adapts to, as well as questions, the stereotypes and expectations of Thai and Australian cultures in everyday life. Through colour, illustration and gesture she considers how her identity is constructed by these ideas.

Recently Spalding spent three months living with her mother in Thailand, which initiated a new curiosity about personal, everyday experiences. After returning to Australia, she found it challenging to readjust to the cultural differences and began comparing the two lifestyles. In Thailand, a simple necessity like water was at times limited, whereas in Australia it’s available at the turn of a tap. Things like food and transport seemed to be a luxury. It was out of these comparisons and associated feelings, such as guilt, that her current ideas stirred and developed.

As an extension of these observations, Spalding began to question her place in the world and the ‘why’ behind the everyday habits of our society. This lead to her carefully considering trend culture, consumerism, convenience and simple intention, expressed through spray painting, illustrative mark-making, painting and digital design.

Opening Event:
Friday 22nd June, 7 - 9pm


Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘A Tropical State’ is a group exhibition that celebrates the humble yet iconic pineapple. Almost one hundred Australian artists have contributed responses to a collection of ornamental timber pineapples, gifted by long-time artist and collector Stephen Spurrier.

The artists in this exhibition have used the supplied retro pineapples as a vehicle for the expression of individual and quintessential experiences of Queensland. Painted onto, carved into, deconstructed and protruding from the pine-shaped bowls, the artists convey personal responses that range from explorations of social histories, weather patterns, representations of native plants and animals, draw upon sexual symbology, childhood recollections and share an experience of place. The responses are as diverse as the State of Queensland itself.

Curated by Ashleigh Campbell & Grace Dewar.

Opening Event:
Friday 18th May, 7 - 9pm


Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

During the month of May, MCM Incorporated™ is taking over the Project Space. This installation and performance that references 90’s office culture, aims to blur the lines between art and everyday life by exploring a service you can turn to when you’re apprehensive about returning a missed call. Lance Long presents this show as a genuine, if questionable, business venture within the context of an art gallery. Viewers in that space and the public alike can call in to participate and have their missed calls followed up.

A statement from Lance:
“I’m dedicated to an overarching strategy to stimulate innovation. Market research reveals that the typical corporate environment is perceived by consumers as ‘unapproachable’ or ‘untrustworthy’ and our ninetofive slog of ‘93 is no longer efficient. Studies show productivity in the workplace is 98% higher during the hours of 7pm-9pm and the most industrious day of the year is the 18th of May, so we at MGM Incorporated™ will adjust our hours/time period accordingly and will now be situated at Firstcoat Studios in the year 2018… Ok Karen, that’s a wrap. Send it to the eggheads in marketing, I’m off to sushi.”

Opening Event:
Friday 18th May, 7 - 9pm

James Green ‘Home’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

'Home' is a new series of environmental portraits by Australian artist, James Green. A visual anthropology of domestic settings, this body of work documents local artists and makers, and their personal narratives.

Inspired by creative spaces, Green is interested in personal environments as visual representations of people. From the spaces we inhabit, to the belongings we accumulate and the stories they hold, each image shares clues about their subject.

Through sharing experiences with the people he captures, ‘Home’ has uncovered a sense of place for Green in a city has visited for 20 years but never really seen. Through this project, Green has found a place means nothing without getting to know its people. "The outcome is the people that I've met and the conversations that we’ve had mean more than the image."

Opening Event:
Friday 13th April, 7 - 9pm

Ursula de Krester ‘Stutiyi (Thank you)’

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

'Stutiyi (Thank you)' presents a series of ceramic cups and bowls, each formed from an original design inspired by the gum trees surrounding Ursula’s Toowoomba studio space. Due to the anomalies and variations that arose during the creative process, each vessel is unique and decorated according to the individual intricacies of each piece. The Eucalyptus gum leaf pattern demonstrates a link between the Toowoomba studio space that she’s been working in for the past four years and her art practice, which explores recurring themes of nature.

The vessels are stacked to resemble clean dishes within a domestic setting, which urges a sense of familiarity for the viewer. The primary purpose of the work is in the communal, participatory act of a shared meal using the presented vessels. Participation involves each visitor exploring the installation to hand pick the piece/s that they will use for the evening.

A traditional Sri Lankan community meal of curry and rice will be shared at 7:30pm during the opening event - we’d like to invite you to choose a bowl and share it with us in exchange for a small donation.

Opening Event:
Friday 13th April, 7 - 9pm

'Again & Again' Group Show

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

‘Again and Again’ is a group exhibition of Australian artists that discusses excessive production through a diverse range of creative practices.

Featured artists have been invited to respond to term ‘again’ as a point of departure. Whether through material choices, revisiting ideas or recycling old artworks, artists are encouraged to question material values, alter preconceived ideas or disrupt an objects intended function. It’s about viewing the act of discarding as a renewable source of inspiration.

Exhibiting artists include Chelsea Gruss, Dan Elborne, David Usher, Grace Dewar, Jake Twigg, James Green, Jen Laycock, Jen Spalding, Jeremy Austin, Jess McMilne, Kirsty lee, Maizie Adams, Peta Berghofer & more.

Curated by Laurie Oxenford.

'Glob of Past Tense' Kristian Glynn & Natasha Wills

Laurel St Gallery & Studio Space, Toowoomba (2016-2020)

'Glob of Past Tense' is a debut solo exhibition by a collaborative duo, Kristian Glynn and Natasha Wills. Working under this creative pseudonym 'Trash-ish', this postal art project is a conscious melding of two worlds, perspectives and ideas.

Beginning in 2016, the pair have produced over 900 small scale, collaborative artworks. They use the postal system to send artworks back and forth between their home studios in Melbourne and Toowoomba. Other artists from USA, Canada and across Australia have been included in this series of mixed media works.