Kicking along

HAPPY AT HOME: Rius Carson with partner Kris Marshall-Carson, Roxo the bird and Rius' son Silver Carson. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

HAPPY AT HOME: Rius Carson with partner Kris Marshall-Carson, Roxo the bird and Rius' son Silver Carson. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

Eppalock artist Rius Carson is finalising an exhibition for Collingwood’s Kick Gallery - a place he has been putting on shows since it opened in 2002.

His connection to the gallery comes through his friend Jacob Hoerner, who opened the gallery and is its director.

The two became friends in their mid-20s after realising their common interest in art and not music unlike the rest of their friends.

Jacob started Kick Gallery after beginning his career in curating in Europe and returning to Australia with his new-found skills.

“I started exhibiting artists who were close to me and Rius was the second artist at Kick Gallery. He was in original group,” Jacob said.

“Over 12 years (the gallery) has evolved but my commitment to Rius is still 100 per cent and solid.”

Jacob said Rius' work over his 20-year career has a strong continuity throughout regardless of the work being a wood-carved sculpture or a painting.

Rius relocated to Eppalock with his family about six years ago.

To begin with they opened a small and short-lived gallery in Bridge Street called Chonk. It aimed to give young artists the experience of putting on an exhibition.

“(That’s) what I had at a young age but in the end we were paying money and couldn’t afford it,” Rius said.

“(At the time) there was not a lot in Bendigo but it has definitely improved since we’ve been here.

“The work they have done with the Bendigo Art Gallery and La Trobe VAC is definitely a step in the right direction.”

Bendigo Art Gallery senior curator Tansy Curtin will open Rius’ Kick Gallery exhibition The Spirit Within on June 26. Rius and Jacob both have a view to showing the exhibition in Bendigo later in the year.

“We have built an audience in Melbourne and want to start building one in Bendigo,” Jacob said.

The Spirit Within looks towards “the meaning of it all” and the little internal conflicts that lie in all of us.

“The theme of this one is going within and getting in touch with a bit of spirituality,” Rius said.

“It’s about those little messages you might see when you’re looking out for something. 

“Like when something happens that’s just abstract but relates to what you were thinking about originally.”

They are themes that Jacob has seen Rius explore throughout his career.

“I suppose I’m  blessed in a way to know Jake. He’s been driving Kick since it started and given me and a lot of artist a good kick along every few years,” Rius said.

“He has been a real help over the years. The hardest thing (for artists) is to get an application up but I’ve had these little kick alongs that have kept me going.”

Also kicking Rius along is the fact that he can’t help but be creative. 

When he and his partner Kris bought their block in Eppalock, they built an organic, off-the-grid house that suits their lifestyle perfectly.

Their straw-bale house is nestled among the bush off the road and is full of organic and natural materials and shapes.

“My partner, Kris, and I have really good connections to the countryside even though we grew up in the city,” Rius said.

“I lived in Darwin for a year pretty much in the bush with all these hippies and that gave me a real love for this type of environment. 

“At one point I had a well-paid job and realised we could afford something. We saw this on the internet, came up the next day and put an offer in.”

“It’s what we both wanted. It’s so good. The whole house is such a creative expression and being a straw-bale house, we had to creatively think around each problem.” 

The Spirit Within opens at Kick Gallery on June 26 and runs until July 13. 

Opening hours are noon to 5pm from Thursday to Saturday and 12 to 4pm on Sundays.

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