Venita Poblocki: upcoming artist-in-residence

Venita Poblocki, guest curator of The John Fries Memorial Prize 2012, 
with Kate Shaw's painting Milkwater

Venita Poblocki is a Sydney based curator and arts writer. Originally from Adelaide, she currently lives in Newtown. Since 2012 Venita's been the Curator & Visual Arts Coordinator at Willoughby City Council, alongside maintaining her professional freelance curatorial and arts writing business. Venita received her B.A. (English Hons.) from Flinders University in South Australia in 1999, then worked in advertising in Sydney for several years before she decided there was no ‘soul food’ or personal satisfaction from selling other people’s products; so she began studying Arts Administration at the College of Fine Arts (UNSW) to pursue a more challenging and satisfying career and to be part of something that matters – culture. Since then, Venita has been engaged in a broad scope of roles within the visual arts from working in the Aboriginal Art Department of Menzies Art Brands, managing galleries, writing exhibition catalogue essays, curating art prizes and curating exhibitions of both Aboriginal and contemporary art. She was also awarded the Emerging Curator Grant by First Draft Gallery in 2012. Most recently, she had her essay for Robin Eley’s solo exhibition, Prism published in the exhibition catalogue by Los Angeles gallery, 101/Exhibit. Venita is presently rolling out a new initiative, the Willoughby Visual Arts Biennial. She is an associate member of the Art Consultants Association of Australia (ACAA) and was guest curator of The John Fries Memorial Prize in 2011 and 2012.

Venita Poblocki, The Space Between exhibition catalogue

One aspect I most enjoy is writing the exhibition catalogue essay. Researching relevant texts and speaking one-on-one with the exhibiting artists allows me to delve further into the artists’ practices, as well as better understand all threads of the narrative I intend to convey to the audience. Having a degree in English, I have always been intrigued by the power of words to allow access to other ways of thinking, experiencing, imagining and seeing. Writing has the ability to guide readers into ‘other worlds’ perhaps not experienced before. Much arts writing can be academic and exclusive in language, style and content. When I write, I challenge myself to be inclusive so a broader audience can gain insight into the exhibition. For time immemorial, story-telling has been used to convey important knowledge. I am interested in hybrid styles of writing where fiction and non-fiction work together to tell the story of the artwork or exhibition. I plan to use my Gunyah residency to further develop the voice, style, structure and content of my writing to seamlessly propel the reader through a familiar structure while also providing understanding into the exhibition.

Venita Poblocki, Selection of exhibition catalogues

For more information about Venita please see her website