WA’s hidden art treasures

Design / Life

When you double the size of your home to accommodate a gallery space for your artworks, you know you have a serious addiction.

That’s what Lloyd and Liz Horn did at their Bunbury home, engaging architects Michael Patroni and Dimity Walker from Spaceagency to redesign the interior of the existing house and then extend it to two levels of white walls, some with windows at floor level, to provide more hanging space above.

It’s an Aladdin’s cave of wondrous and, sometimes, confronting two and three dimensional artworks.

Lloyd and Liz are passionate crusaders of Western Australian art. They have been accumulating works for over 30 years and have no intention of stopping. When they ran out of wall and floor space in their home, they started storing works in a nearby warehouse.

The collection is important and invaluable because it offers a unique and comprehensive view of the progress of Western Australian art since the 1960s.

To wander amongst their collection is a phantasmagorical journey through a Who’s Who of WA’s art scene  –  Jon Tarry, Hans Arkeveld, Brian McKay, Theo Koning, Bevan Honey, Jeremy Kirwan-Ward, Michelle Hogan, Angela McHarrie, Indra Geidans, Paul Trinidad, Merrick Belyea, Tony Jones and on it goes. Yes, there is a Robert Juniper, too.

The selection of works is intensely personal. “Every piece has a story,” explains Lloyd, “Many of the artists have sat in this room [the living room where we are sipping long blacks and eating freshly made apple flapjacks] and shared a coffee or wine with us.”

“We don’t have a theme that dictates our collection but, from the start, we did make a conscious decision to purchase local art and support local artists.”

Lloyd and Liz acquire pieces because they like them, making intuitive selections, eschewing fashion, status and investment value. They embrace experimental and difficult art –  installations that sprawl, suspend, glow, stretch and tower.

There are young emerging artists, winners of various annual art prizes and acquisitions from all variety of exhibitions such as pieces from The Dog Show, an exhibition curated years ago by artist Stuart Elliott at the Bunbury Art Gallery which required the artists to do a dog work.

There’s an elegant Jon Tarry curved timber piece which was exchanged for an old BMW. “John needed a car and we had an old one that we were going to get rid of,” laughs Liz.

Several years ago, Lloyd seconded a group of friends to form an art syndicate and commissioned Simon Gilby to create ten life-size figurative works. The syndicate financially supported the artist during the two years that it took to complete the works.


“It’s all about nurturing local artists.”

The work that each syndicate member receives at the end is a bonus,” says Lloyd.

Since then, the syndicate has commissioned Peter Dailey and Stuart Elliot, with the same open-ended brief – to create ten life-size figurative based works. The next syndicate artist is soon to be announced.

And who is their favourite artist? Immediately, Lloyd responds, “The one that we are dealing with at that moment.”