Goodbye to the art school

University of Tasmania art school, Hobart
University of Tasmania art school, Hunter St, Hobart: the building is an inspiration in its own right. Image: Gabrielle Rish

After two years of studying visual arts at TAFE and four years of a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours at the University of Tasmania, I have finally left the building. I went into the magnificent former IXL jam factory that is the Hunter St campus in 2015 as an absolute beginner in art (except for my habitual doodling with ballpoint pens in my reporter’s shorthand pads). I have emerged financially poorer but with a rich sense of the aliveness of the world. If you pay attention — and isn’t that what an artist does? — you will draw closer to the hidden mysteries and the external fascinations. The next step as an artist is to open those encounters to others.

I am currently part of a large group exhibition, Images of Tasmania 23, at the Salamanca Arts Centre and, in mid-January, my Honours cohort will show our work together in our own exhibition, Intimacy, at the Rosny Schoolhouse. I have a new art project taking shape and a solo show to work towards in mid-2021. I guess you could say I’m launched as an emerging artist.

But everything is always just beginning, especially as I’m an artist without a specialist medium. I find something I want to explore then work out the medium(s) to do that with, so I’m pretty much always an absolute beginner. To see this as a strength, rather than a weakness, I have to hold onto a way of thinking that I saw as the quote of the day on a “bunch of dates” desk calendar in my former working life: “If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye, which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible.” — Soren Kierkegaard.

2 thoughts on “Goodbye to the art school

  1. ….congratulations gabrielle!

    i know how hard you have worked.

    i do love your work, especially the one shown here.

    i similarly feel as you and kirkegard in this quote in relation to material/s and moving through the world with a rolling, birthing eye.



  2. Congratulations! Now a new chapter begins! I wish you well as you navigate a new pathway as an emerging artist,Gabrielle. Your web page looks good. Carmel


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