Staff Profiles

Naomi Cass

Naomi Cass, Director

What year did you join CAM: 2019

What you enjoy most about working at CAM: My attention and passion ranges from the smallest items in the collection--for example the tiny shell and paper shoes from La Perouse (NSW) made by the local traditional owners and for which we have so little information as yet--through to our magnificent art deco building. I am inspired by working with the Jaara traditional owners, artists, experts and community from across the region and beyond, to care for and bring the collections to life and the building to its best.

A favourite item from the collection: Choosing a favourite item is like favouring one child. How do I choose between the striking facade adorned by Orlando Dutton's mural above the entrance and framed by Michael O'Connell's decorative planters, or our estimable collection of Clarice Beckett paintings. I love the way CAM's diverse collections speak to each other and inspire contemporary artists to delve and explore, as exemplified in our In Conversation series of exhibitions with Janina Green (2019) and Melinda Harper (2021). In this vein, I am going to select one of the vitrines from Melinda Harper: In conversation with the Collection.

Why you’ve chosen this item: All the works in this vitrine hover in a similar tonal range: from creamy raw silk to eggshell white; pineapple straw; milky Belleek ceramic; aged white net and embroidery cotton; through to the amber tones of a mysterious seed pod and Christian Waller's linocut of a dynamic art deco figure--all juxtaposed by Melinda Harper's outrageous reflective mini sculptures of posh used perfume bottles adorned with small round Indian mirrors. Here is the joy of small items in varying degrees of completion and composure, crafted with love and skill by local women artists. And as Jane McAuslan's 1866 sampler in the lower left of the vitrine declares: 'Remember me'.

Installation view, Melinda Harper in Conversation with Collection, Castlemaine Art Museum, 2020. Image: Julie Millowick.

Anna Schwann

Anna Schwann, Front of House Officer and Prize Administrator

What year did you join CAM: 2021

What you enjoy most about working for CAM: My work with CAM has been multifaceted so far, which has afforded connections with the team of staff, volunteers and the public alike. From this viewpoint I have the ability to act as conduit, sharing information and feedback which are the things that instigate growth and change. Since this institution has a history of being community powered it's an important part of the process to take into the future. And I get to work with lots of amazing people.

A favourite item from the collection: John Nixon, Purple and Black, 2015.

Why you’ve chosen this item: It’s probably a bit of 90’s nostalgia creeping in since the colour combination and form of this painting feel like snapshots from highschool for me. I find it repulsive yet attractive, I’m drawn to tensions within artworks and use them in my own practice. The minimal nature of this work means that the more time you spend with it, the more is revealed to you and being aware of my own dwindling attention span I appreciate the reminder to stay for a while.

Installation view, Melinda Harper in Conversation with Collection, showing John Nixon, Purple and Black, in background. Image: Julie Millowick.

Jennifer Long

Jennifer Long, Consultant and Honorary Curator

Deb Peart

Deb Peart, Honorary Conservator

What year did you join CAM: 2019.

What you enjoy most about volunteering for CAM: The excitement of discovery and the variety of curious interconnecting challenges that crop up while working with the CAM collection make working/ volunteering interesting.

A favourite item from the collection: Clifton Pugh, The Crab Catcher, 1958, oil on composition board.

Why you’ve chosen this item: The Crab Catcher tugs at a deep level. I put it down to an interest in the work of Clifton Pugh during my student days. With the abstracted, naked crab catcher strongly entwined in the rocks and immediate environment, large hands outstretched, there is a sense of full participation, yet a vulnerability. Pugh’s close up, intimate depictions of the Australian bush appear to capture the essence of one’s felt experience. The character of the Australian bush is there. Memories of childhood experiences are intensely evoked by the imagery, limited colour range, paint layering and loose brush strokes.

Clifton Pugh, The Crab Catcher, 1958, Oil on composition board.

Womindjika Woorineen willam bit
Willam Dja Dja Wurrung Balug
Wokuk mung gole-bo-turoi
talkoop mooroopook

Welcome to our homeland,
home of the Dja Dja Wurrung people
we offer you people good spirit.
Uncle Rick Nelson

The Jaara people of the Dja Dja Wurrung are the Custodians of the land and waters on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present and emerging. We extend these same sentiments to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations peoples.

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