Welcome to the first in a series of Member Profiles, where we get to know our Contemporaries a little better. First up we’d like to introduce Doug Lindsay, a Darlinghurst-based professional who has recently started collecting art. Doug works in Community Engagement for Transport NSW, and having lived three years in London, loves the proximity of the harbour, beaches, friends and family that Sydney offers.

The first artwork I bought was Penguin with Enamel Jug by Marian Drew, from Michael Reid in Elizabeth Bay. The image is incredibly striking, it just had an emotive quality that grabbed me. I first saw it in March 2013, and ummed and ahhed for a long time. It was a very considered process, but it’s rare that something stays with me, and when I was still thinking about it a year later, I went for it.

“I am affected by art in a way that is difficult to describe, but easy to access. You can walk into a gallery anywhere in Sydney and be moved, when you come across the right thing.” 

26b64d1d-dfec-4511-baa7-81b1981fbf70 A friend recently described the Sydney art scene to me as an ‘ongoing conversation’. The hardest part initially is to find a way to join that conversation. Once you’re plugged in, it really opens up and you find recurring themes and ideas in the art, as well as getting to know the people.

The thing about contemporary art is that it is always evolving, as opposed to the classics which are fixed. I love looking at what is happening now through new and emerging art. I recently bought a work by Joan Ross and I am very interested in the current dialogue around post-colonial discourse. I also love Tony Albert’s work, and am constantly amazed and surprised by its diversity. He is constantly mixing it up and changing things around, and the results are incredible.  

“I want to feel like I can walk into a gallery and have an honest conversation about price points, where a particular artist is at in their career, and ask if there is anything to see in the stockroom.”

It can be very confronting to walk into galleries and have those conversations, but programs like Contemporaries make that easier.

Contemporaries and my time with Art Month Young Collectors has physically and socially opened up this world to me, exposing me to all kinds of work I wouldn’t usually look at. I’ve never sought out sculpture before, but going to Alex Seton’s studio and being so hands-on with the work was incredible. If I had a spare $50k I would be getting one of his works right now.

I recently bought a sculptural piece at the National Art School graduation show, by emerging artist Gillian Hodes. There is always something new and different at student shows, and lots of gallerists have told me they go to the grad shows to find fresh new work. Plus the National Art School campus is just amazing. Gillian’s work hovers between two- and three-dimensions, and it is not easy work for me. It’s unpolished, and really feels like an early work – like the beginning of an ongoing story. I am so curious to see what she does next.   

I realised recently that I have never actually been to the Biennale of Sydney before – I’ve just never gotten around to it. So I was very pleased to hear just this week that Contemporaries are running a tour. It’s perfect timing.