The Art of Collecting

.M Contemporary

Michelle Paterson

Founder and Director of .M Contemporary

Michelle and Louise talk relationship building with a gallery, avoiding ‘trends’ and keeping up to date with the art world. 

.M Contemporary opened doors to the Australian public in August 2013 with the aim of fostering cross-cultural discussions through promoting and exhibiting emerging and established artists, both domestic and international.

Over the last six years Founder and Director Michelle Paterson and Director Louise Rush have built an extensive database of artists - both emerging and established, across multiple medias and art practices, while supporting a growing and expansive clientele.

The gallery consciously and consistently cultivates relations with emerging artists, providing them with access to .M Contemporary’s broad and loyal patrons, whilst simultaneously providing collectors with new and contemporary pieces to consider.

Due to it’s progressive and diverse nature, .M Contemporary is engaged with a far-reaching and astute audience. Now, having opened a new space in Double Bay, the gallery aims to build upon its existing clientele, whilst also capturing new collectors where they reside.

Lionel Smit
In November 2015, .M Contemporary held South African artist Lionel Smit’s first exhibition in Australia, widening his already extensive international following of collectors to include a wide scope of Australian clients. Represented solely by .M Contemporary, his art practice fuses variations of Malayan women across portraiture and sculpture, creating visual and tactile explorations of hybrid identities. His next show in October 2020 will continue his focus on detailing the constant change within South Africa’s psycho-social landscape.


Isobel Rayson
Emerging Australian artist Isobel Rayson joined .M Contemporary in 2017. Her art practice explores mark making as a means to investigate and preserve ideas of presence, creating minimalistic relics of documented daily rituals. She stated, “I am often preoccupied with thoughts of passing time; where I stand in my immediate environ- ment and how I might capture this temporality as a record of my presence in the world.”

 The art of collecting

  1. Build a relationship with a gallery that shares your aesthetic values and recognizes your design sensibilities. Cultivating relationships with galleries provides access to new information on artists and trends and allows consistent communication.
  2. Avoid trends that go against your gut instinct. There is a French phrase ‘en connaissance de cause,’ that, when translated means, ‘have knowledge of what you reject.’ Maintain knowledge of what trends you dismiss, yet don’t allow your tastes to be homogenised by the tastes of others.
  3. Thus, keep up to date with the art world. Below are suggested subscriptions to make this step easier.
    • Artsy: provides access to art from around the world in a simple and accessible manner
    • Sydney Contemporary: provides consistent updates on upcoming cultural events to attend
    • Artnet: to provide easy access to the international art market
    • Art Money: keeps you posted on the stockrooms that provide artworks available with interest free loans from participating galleries
  4. Establish a vision for your collection, whether within a specific medium or within an aesthetic framework to achieve cohesion and consistency. Similarly, if you have an established favourite artist, buying across multiple bodies of work over a period of years allows development to be viewed and recognised, gaining a richer collecting experience.
  5. Less is more. Stick to your vision and avoid collecting pieces that stray from your aesthetic values.

.M Contemporary consciously aims to aid new collectors by consistently promoting and marketing their artists and ongoing exhibitions. Attendingthe gallery’s press releases, organized events (artist talks, industry talks), and opening nights will provide new and established collectors opportunities to network and build and maintain contacts in the art world, whilst engaging the art world with their ever-growing network of established and emerging artists.

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