Potions in the regional mix

– Rebecca Cassells with her parents Brad and Karen Oborn and curator Mitch Stone at the launch of Potions Artisan Gallery in Narrogin. Photo Lyn DiCiero.

Months of activity has seen the semi-restoration of a historic building in Narrogin ultimately transformed into a gallery space. With a population of just over 4,000 at the 2016 census, the opening of a new gallery in this little oasis in the Wheatbelt south of Western Australia was clearly much anticipated. A crowd gathered outside on opening night as paper, previously shrouding the developments inside, was ceremoniously peeled away from the windows, and Potions Artisan Gallery made its debut. Local artists, together with those intrigued and interested in the new space, mixed with many who made the two hour journey from Perth, passing farm after farm of rolling hills and occasional flat landscapes stretching as far as the eye could see.

Its inaugural exhibition, Thru the Door, curated by Mitch Stone, features two and three dimensional works by 20 artists, including Tahini Riches, Pam Langdon, Eileen Macpherson and Lesley Orr, who responded to the theme of myths, legends and folklore. A budding shop space with jewellery and clothing on display offers the opportunity to support local craft, and an adjoining studio and workshop area will provide opportunities as the gallery develops and expands in phases. Artist residencies were certainly part of this development, with expressions of interest already being accepted.

The concept for Potions began as a lighthearted chat between mother and daughter team Rebecca Cassells and Karen Oborn about possible uses for the family owned building. Both produce their own 2D work, and their idea of transforming the space into a gallery turned from semi-jocular to serious planning. Both were clearly thrilled with the result. Cassells said the opening was a great success. “It was fantastic that a number of works sold on the night and the event was well attended given health restrictions. We are pleased to be able to offer this space to encourage engagement in the arts and to promote community connections.” 

She said the exhibition is an eclectic display of works inspired by age-old stories. “The exhibition is a nod to the overall vision of the gallery – to create a space for artists who are ready to push limits and work beyond the conventional.”

Oborn said the gallery values collaboration, and aims to complement existing art initiatives in the area, as well as offering opportunities for emerging artists. “As a privately-owned gallery we can be flexible. This is particularly important in regional areas for artists who don’t quite fit the mould, or just generally need a little extra support.”

She said he gallery name referenced the mysteriousness of creating artworks. “Human creativity mixed with materials and the world around us is kind of magic.”

Thru the Door is on show at Potions until 6 February 2021. Vote in the People’s Choice at www.potionsgallery.com The gallery is open weekends 11am – 2pm or by appointment at 115 Federal St, Narrogin.  


The Ocean’s Children, pyrography on timber by Tahani Riches in Thru the Door at Potions Gallery in Narrogin. 

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