THE Art Gallery of Ballarat is always looking for ways to showcase some of its immense collection of over 11,000 items, but at any one time no more than about two per cent can be exhibited.
Do you put on an historical exhibit? Do you focus on modern art? Do you focus on ancient art? These are all the questions - and answers to those - that curator Louise Tegart has to deal with daily.
Which is why the latest exhibition 'Call and Response' is seen as the perfect blend of the old and the new.
The exhibition, which opens on Saturday and runs through to April 10, will showcase works from the start of white civilisation in this country right up to artworks that have been acquired in recent months.
Some items, such as a small Captain Cook sculpture, has been in the Art Gallery of Ballarat's collection for decades and have never been shown to the public while others have been moved from their position in the permanent collection in order to shine a new light on the work.
It shows through the generations, there will always be similarities with some visual and others created in direct response to the original works.
"The exhibition is a series of impossible conversations - these artists could never have met or exchanged ideas but have produced artworks that address similar ideas, themes or concerns," Ms Tegart said.
The curator said the direct pairing of artworks across time allows visitors to see works in a new light and continually discover new things.
"It makes us notice the links and connections and influences between the present and the past, allowing us to look differently at the collection and consider the trajectory over time," she said.
Ms Tegart said the current approach to collecting was filling the gaps where key historical artists are missing from the collection. She said the aim was to continually develop the Aboriginal art collection as well as contemporary art collections.
"We also have a focus on works by Ballarat artists and works related to Ballarat as a place and also the ceramics collection has continued to grow," she said.
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