Sydney Review: Brett Whiteley Studio

If you want to take a break from hunting pre-loved or vintage goods at the markets, but still want to while away the wintry days, you should definitely head to the Brett Whiteley Studio. Located on 2 Raper Street, Surry Hills, it’s off the laneways of Devonshire Street, but in close proximity to Bourke Street Bakery.

You know you’ve found the place as soon as you see a sculpture of one of his most iconic works at the front door. Two large matchsticks, with one lit and one not lit, which symbolise life and death. Here’s a photo taken by the cool Miss 5ft0:

Front entrance to the Brett Whiteley Studio with the iconic sculpture of the two matchsticks. Photo: Tina Tek

Front entrance to the Brett Whiteley Studio with the iconic sculpture of the two matchsticks. Photo: Tina Tek

Don’t be fooled by it’s deceivingly pint-sized space, the studio is crammed with a mixture of wooden sculptures, stuffed birds, paintings of genitalia and big-breasted women. As a friend of mine said, “You can tell what was on Whiteley’s mind, sex and more sex”. Perhaps it’s due to the theme of this exhibition is called, ‘The Nude’.  Whiteley’s paintings may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I do believe every person should come visit this gallery at least once in their life.

Artworks on display at the Brett Whiteley Studio. Photo taken by the Art Gallery of NSW.

Artworks on display at the Brett Whiteley Studio. Photo taken by the Art Gallery of NSW.

My personal favourite is the upstairs area where you see Whiteley’s unfinished painting called ‘Unfinished Beach Polyptych’, which includes a six-panel spanning 7 metres. You’ll also see an array quotes and various newspaper clippings from the Telegraph Mirror taped onto the brick walls, collage of photos of his travels, his vast collection of vinyl records ranging from Bob Dylan to Janis Joplin on the shelf, to the unused paint cans on the floor.If you listen carefully in the background, you’ll can hear the song, “All Along the Watchtower” played on the loudspeaker. From observing all these various knick knacks on display, you could see what Whiteley’s beliefs and character were. 

The heroin clock. Photo by the Tumblr-ings of a Global Citizen.

The heroin clock. Photo by the Tumblr-ings of a Global Citizen.

The upstairs area of the studio. You can see the 'Unfinished Beach Polptych' from this photo. Photo by the Art Gallery of NSW.

The upstairs area of the studio. You can see the ‘Unfinished Beach Polptych’ from this photo. Photo by the Art Gallery of NSW.

Now I’m sure people are asking questions which are more related to one’s schedule and bank balance. These questions were submitted by a pretty lass named Anita Ket. So here it is:

Do you need to pay to enter the Brett Whiteley Studio? No! I believe it’s a moral duty for art studios and museums to be free.

Is it open during weekdays? No. It’s only open from Friday-Sunday from 10 am – 4pm. Be warned though, the Brett Whiteley Studio will be closed from 2 September – 3 October 2013.

Are their any cafes in the studio? Oh Anita, you should really read the first paragraph carefully. There are no cafes in the Brett Whiteley Studio. But there’s plenty of good grub in Surry Hills. If  you want more info on this, go to my friend, Confessions of A Glutton. She can help you out.

**I apologise for the lack of photos. The Brett Whiteley Studio doesn’t allow visitors to take photos in the studio, so I relied on other image sites instead.

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