STORY BY RICHARD CORNISH
At the western end of Kyneton’s Piper Street, past the excellent eateries and galleries, is an old butter factory. Inside it is a vast industrial space filled with contemporary art, unique fashion and design objects including jewellery, furniture and homewares. The scale of the operation is vast, the vision of the project is audacious and the atmosphere is so laid back it feels like Sunday morning - in the best possible way. It is called Stockroom and we in the LOST offices agree this is one of our favourite places to shop. Imagine the opposite of Chadstone. That is Stockroom.
The women’s wear section is a series of raw tree branches used to form free-hanging clothing racks and detached change rooms in the form of a small house, all supervised by a friendly, sleepy shop dog. On some days there are two. Stockroom carries a large range of different designers and a good range of sizes. Summer dresses, tops and culottes in navy and white dyed natural fibres from Papershadow and Laika, the two labels by Brisbane fashion house Dogstar, by the talented Australian designer Masayo Yasuki. Then there are the strong, art and pop culture infused digital prints from Melbourne designer Gently Unfurling Sneak on A line skirts, pants and jackets.
On the other side of the massive industrial space is a man cave of a shop called Notown Outfitters. Notown Outfitters blends shirts, t-shirts and denim from hardwearing, renowned menswear labels such as Pike Brothers, Penfield, Denham and Carhart with a museum-like display of vintage automobile and motorcycle parts, collectable toys and a working, 1970s pinball machine. In both spaces there is no hard sell. We are just waiting for them to open a bar in the space between so we can make a day of shopping here.
Stockroom is the brainchild of Magali Gentric and her partner sculptor Jason Waterhouse. Together they had a shop / gallery in Hepburn called Wolf at the Door. “Nine years ago we saw this derelict factory,” explains Jason. “We jumped at it. It allowed us to do all the projects we wanted and create this f*ck off space!” he says with a laugh. “We also love a white cube,” adds Magali referring to the dedicated art spaces that dominate the rear of Stockroom.
The exhibitions at Stockroom are free to the public and change monthly. The spaces exhibit some of the best contemporary art in Australia and beyond. In November, Gallery 1, the main gallery space, sees works by three artists who are recipients of The Macfarlane Fund - Fairy Turner, Louise Tate and Steven Christie.
Gallery 2, a second exhibition space adjacent to the old boiler room, will show The Surinam Toad by ceramicist Andrei Davidoff. Beyond these gallery spaces and outside is one of Jason’s iconic pieces – a twisted Dali-esque red Holden HQ – and in the courtyard is his Alice in Wonderland-like garden shed, all brilliantly executed works with a beautifully loutish sense of humour.
Seated behind this creative couple as they speak hangs a stunning framed photograph of a kinetic sculpture in action by Cameron Rollins, and this hangs above ironic retro furniture. “We are passionate about presenting art in a way people can understand,” adds Magali. Again true and as if to prove the point, there is a magnificent marble sculpture worth $4000, depicting a common Australian industrial silo building, next to everyday household objects. Next time the Macquarie Dictionary is updated, next to the word eclectic, there should be a photo of Stockroom.