From vivid watercolours of Western Australia’s rugged coastline, to a carbonised steel sculpture that once stood in the world’s largest outdoor gallery, let COMO The Treasury’s prized art collection immerse you in the story of the region and beyond.
Few things deepen our connection to a place than the art it inspires. One great exhibition can introduce a continent’s worth of stories that could otherwise take a lifetime to discover.
At COMO The Treasury, we are privileged to host works by eminent artists from across Australia in our beautifully refurbished 19th-century State Buildings.
Below, we introduce you to five of our collection’s most celebrated pieces, allowing you to explore Western Australia’s rich history before you even set foot outside.
Inside Australia 2003
This enormous public art installation spanned 16 square kilometres across the vast salt flats of Lake Ballard in Western Australia, and comprised 51 individual humanoid sculptures cast in carbonised steel. It was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Perth Arts Festival in 2003.
Each sculpture is based on a laser scan of a resident of the tiny hamlet of Menzies, close to the lake. Once a gold-rush boom-town of 10,000 people, Menzies’s population is now only around 100. Gormley’s intent was to take the incomparable, almost otherworldly geology of Lake Ballard and find a human equivalent, reflecting our connection to this particular place, its history and environment.
You can see one of those abstract sculptures on display in the Arrival Lounge.
Cape Arid Collection
Philippa and Alex Nikulinsky
Named for the collection of bright watercolours and bold black and white illustrations that adorns its walls, the Cape Arid Rooms are a warm and inviting space in which COMO The Treasury guests can rest and replenish over afternoon tea.
The art that fills this space is the combined work of husband and wife collaborators Philippa and Alex Nikulinsky, whose contrasting and complimentary styles have allowed them to capture some of Australia’s wildest and most remote scenery.
Cape Arid National Park is an area of untamed natural beauty located on Western Australia’s isolated southern coast. Alex’s work focuses on the landscape devastated by wildfire, using expressive lines and a monochrome palette to evoke the harshness of the destruction. Phillipa’s evocative watercolours, meanwhile, bring the landscape back to life, restoring its flora and fauna in all their colourful detail.
Signed prints of pieces featured in the Cape Arid Collection are available to purchase - please speak to one of our hosts.
West Australian artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah uses sculpture, installation and drawing to give form to his memories of childhood. Shrines - situated in Titles Building - explores the themes of play and imagination.
Much of Abdul’s work is concerned with the reconstruction of childhood memories in ways that can be experienced by an audience today. This work is intended to reflect the primary role of the imagination in giving our childhood surroundings a depth of meaning through play. Shrines embraces the idea of finding magic in the ordinary, allowing the limits of the home to become far horizons and distant shores.
Attending the Victorian College of the Arts then Curtin University, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah graduated with a BA in 2012. His work has been exhibited recently at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.
You can find this piece at Titles Building Stairs at Level One.
Brendan van Hek
Brendan van Hek creates large-scale abstract installations and sculptures from a mix of mediums, including neon, mirror, glass, metal and paint. Hailing from Western Australia, he has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, with many of his works available to view in public galleries across Perth, including in the entryway of our own Titles Building.
In Traces, van Hek uses neon sculpture to capture the image of a found paint trail, a style of graffiti that can be spotted throughout the city. By transitioning from black neon to white, Traces interrogates the opposition between dualities - past and future, light and dark, street art and public art - as well as the connection and flow of movement between them.You can find this piece at Titles Building Entry at Cathedral Avenue.
Akio Makigawa’s early works, epitomised in Untitled 1980, are defined by a distillation of symbolic natural forces and various contrasting material tensions. As Makigawa describes: ‘My work deals with human attitudes and feelings, but not the human body or presence … it is about what and how we perceive the fundamental things around us which give life: water, air, earth, fire.’
Born in Karatsu, Japan in 1948, Akio Makigawa was a gymnastics champion and sail maker. He arrived in Fremantle in 1974. After meeting the sculptor Tony Jones, Makigawa studied fine art in Western Australia and went on to develop a substantial body of public and private sculpture commissions nationally until his death in 1999.You can find this piece on Mezzanine Level One of COMO The Treasury, and it can also be viewed from the Postal Hall.
Our team at COMO The Treasury are on hand to help you explore Perth’s museums, galleries and cultural sites. For more information, or help with making advance arrangements, please get in touch.