Accommodating focus

PASSION FOR ART: Ahn Wells stands beside a portrait of herself painted by Pablo Tapia, currently on exhibit at Gallery 139.
PASSION FOR ART: Ahn Wells stands beside a portrait of herself painted by Pablo Tapia, currently on exhibit at Gallery 139.

JUGGLING her own practise as an artist and operating an art exhibition space – Gallery 139 – has made Ahn Wells sharpen her artistic practises. 

“Since I started the gallery, my time in the studio is more focused,” Ahn said. 

“I go in there with more purpose, I think it means I experiment less, but I have come out with stronger work.”

And on the gallery side, she said being an artist made her a bit more understanding.

“Artists are frustrating, they are so unorganised,” Wells said.

“Because I am an artist too… I think I am more accommodating.”

“But I love organising and asking artists to be involved in exhibitions. I love doing all the curating and the director stuff.”

Wells completed an Advanced Diploma of Fine Art at Hunter Street TAFE, before undertaking a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of Newcastle, with a subsequent Honours degree.

She was awarded The Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship for emerging artists which saw her travel to the UK to study tapestry weaving. 

Wells has had major shows in recent years. A 2015 joint exhibition with Alison Smith, titled subTRACTION. 

A 2012 joint exhibition featured the works of Wells and her partner, Peter Speight, in the same year the well known Newcastle artist died. 

Wells and Smith will again hold a joint exhibition at ASW from November 18 to 27.

Her work is currently in an exhibition at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery. The show Your Collection –Presence and Absence, curated by Rob Cleworth,  features works from the gallery’s permanent collection, of which Wells’ untitled work belongs.

The work is made of layers from paper and explores piercing and textiles. The exhibition is on now until July 31. 

Gallery 139, is located at 139 Beaumont Street, Hamilton. Wells makes art in a studio at Newcastle Community Arts Centre. 

Wells will be a judge for Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize 2016, which she won in 2002.  gallery139.com.au