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Cowra Regional Art Gallery 77 Darling Street, Cowra NSW 2794 www.cowraartgallery.com.au Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am – 4pm Sunday 2pm – 4pm. Admission free. Published 2019 © Cowra Regional Art Gallery 2019 Published with the support of the Calleen Trust Production committee: Tim Böhm, Peter Haynes and Brian Langer Catalogue essay and Biographies: Peter Haynes, Curator, Writer, Art Historian and Heritage Advisor Design: 2B Advertising & Design, ACT Photography: Effy Alexakis (Photowrite) Additional photography: Gwen Clark (GC) and Jacque Perry (JP) Essay text and biographies © Peter Haynes 2019 Printing: CanPrint, Canberra, ACT All artworks © the artists. All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopied, recorded or otherwise, without permission in writing from the publisher Edition: 1,000 ISBN 978-0-9923730-7-8 The Cowra Regional Art Gallery is a Cultural Facility of the Cowra Shire Council


THE

CALLEEN COLLECTION


A Feeling of Spring Dorothy Davies Winner 1986 acrylic on board 79.5 x 63 cm

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THE CALLEEN COLLECTION


CONTENTS

Foreword Brian Langer, Director Cowra Regional Art Gallery

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Introduction Peter Haynes, Curator, Arts Writer, Art Historian, Arts and Heritage Advisor

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Winners Critical analysis of the winning works 1977–2018 Peter Haynes, Curator, Arts Writer, Art Historian, Arts and Heritage Advisor

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Acknowledgements

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40 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

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Glyphs: Tree of Life G. W. Bot Winner 2012 watercolour and graphite on colombe paper 100 x 108 cm

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FOREWORD This timely publication is a unique opportunity to explore the development of the Calleen Collection and celebrate the life of its founder Mrs Patricia Fagan OAM, art collector and advocate of the arts in Cowra, including patron of the Cowra Art Group for 33 years and benefactor of the acquisitive Calleen Art Prize. Patricia Fagan’s donation of $1,000 prize money in 1977 for the inaugural acquisitive Calleen Art Prize (in association with the Cowra Festival of the Lachlan Valley Art Exhibition) and gifting the winning work to the Cowra Shire Council was visionary. Patricia Fagan continued as benefactor of the Calleen Collection and the Calleen Art Prize (now the Calleen Art Award) until she passed away in 1999. In 1998 the Cowra Shire Council announced the construction of a regional gallery in Cowra fulfilling the dreams of cultural groups and individuals in the local community including Patricia Fagan. In October 2000 the new Cowra Regional Art Gallery opened and in February 2001 the Calleen Collection was exhibited as the Gallery’s foundation collection for the very first time. Subsequent displays have taken place in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2014 and in December 2017 the Gallery presented a 40 year anniversary exhibition. Through the patronage of Mrs Patricia Fagan OAM and support of the Cowra arts community, together with the ongoing stewardship of her son Peter Fagan and his wife Jenni Fagan the Calleen Collection continues to develop for now and for future generations, worthy of the broad spectrum of other collections of Australian art in regional public galleries across NSW. I would like to commend Peter Fagan and Jenni Fagan for their generous support and the opportunity to publish this book. Thank you to Peter Haynes, curator, writer, art historian and heritage advisor for his insightful approach and considered development of this book. Thank you to the Cowra Shire Council for continued support of the Cowra Regional Art Gallery, and thank you also to the Gallery Advisory Committee. The development of the Calleen Collection as a prominent cultural collection ensures it will continue to make a valuable contribution to the local community and the development of the Cowra Regional Art Gallery. I trust you enjoy this publication and tribute to its founder Mrs Patricia Fagan OAM.

Brian Langer Director Cowra Regional Art Gallery

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Patricia Fagan OAM, 1970 Arts Patron and founder of the Calleen Trust

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INTRODUCTION The Calleen Prize owes its existence to the coming together of a number of phenomena the most remarkable of which being the energy and passion of its founder Mrs Patricia Fagan OAM. Born in 1916 in Strathfield in Sydney to German-born eye doctor, Dr Friedrich Wiesener and his wife Wilmot (née Hoskins), Patricia was the youngest daughter and had two sisters and two brothers1. She was always interested in art as was her sister Mollie2. In 1939 Patricia married Jim Fagan and moved to Cowra where she lived until her death in 1999. Her active involvement in the community and her broad philanthropic interests were admirably spelled out by Rod Blume, the (then) Mayor of the Cowra Shire Council in his 1994 supporting letter for Patricia’s nomination for an award in the Order of Australia.

2006 Calleen Art Award Judge, Tony Bond, with the winning work Portrait Jeanette No 3 by David Fairbairn

Blume provided a summary of her major contributions to the Cowra community (and beyond), and this is partially listed as follows: The Patricia Fagan Trust (1962); the Cowra High School Scholarship; the Cowra Art Group; the Cowra Eisteddfod; the Surveyor Evans Park; the Cowra Bridge Project; the World Peace Bell; the Lachvale Special School; the Children’s Hospital Charitable Trust; and other unspecified charitable gifts. His final paragraphs state that “…The contribution to the community of Cowra and indeed the people of N.S.W. by Mrs Fagan over the last 30 years or so is considerable…As a humanitarian, patron of the arts and philanthropist, there is certainly none in this town who has contributed as much as Mrs Fagan”.3

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Patricia Fagan’s interest in art was not purely philanthropic. She was also a collector who had begun buying art in the 1950s on trips with her husband (and sister Mollie and her husband, also Jim) to South Australia and the Northern Territory. Her substantial collection included works by Fred Williams, Russell Drysdale, Ray Crooke, Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, John Olsen, Robert Juniper, Sidney Nolan, Donald Friend and Michael Shannon. Alongside these was an equally substantial collection of decorative arts including Lalique crystal, Limoges enamels, and porcelain pieces from Meissen, Royal Doulton, Wedgwood and Spode. Unfortunately a robbery in the mid-1990s depleted the collection. This devastating loss overshadowed the last years of Patricia’s otherwise culturally and personally rich life. The late Patricia Fagan OAM in 1977 at the Opening of the Festival Exhibition

Her deep interest in the visual arts saw her as well as being Patron of the Cowra Art Group from 1966 until her death on 11 November 1999, as an active member of that group. Indeed the Sydney critic Dr George Berger, the judge of the 1975 Festival Exhibition, awarded her a Commended for her painting Potts Gravel Yard4. This Group (established in 1962) provided much of the impetus and energy that saw the eventual opening of the Cowra Regional Art Gallery. Patricia Fagan had established, also in 1962, the Calleen

Patricia Fagan OAM honour plaque unveiled at the gallery by the art group patron Cyril Treasure and President Shirley Freebairn with Jenni and Peter Fagan (photo GC)

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Trust. This would in 1976 through Patricia’s benefices provide the first of the continuing funds to purchase works for what is now known as the Calleen Collection, a collection that would be housed in the future Cowra Regional Art Gallery.


Patricia’s support of the Group through the Cowra Festival of the Lachlan Valley from 1965 to 1976 reached its apogee in 1976 with the donation through the Trust of $1000 for an acquisitive Painting to form the nucleus of a collection for the people of Cowra, to be called “The Calleen Collection”. Calleen was the name of Patricia Fagan’s childhood home in Sydney, the place where her love of the arts began5. The first award, judged by well-known traditional painter John Santry, was made in 1977 to Thelma Green, an artist about whom

Peter Haynes 2005 Calleen Art Award Judge (photo GC)

little is known. The Cowra Art Group continued to run the Calleen Art Awards initially held in the Coach House motel (1977) and from 1978 to 1993 in the Cowra Services Club. The exhibition continued at that venue until 1998 but managed by the Cowra Arts Council. The Cowra Shire Council had agreed to the establishment of a regional gallery and the years 1999–2000 saw the Calleen Prize in abeyance. The Cowra Regional Art Gallery opened in October 2000. In February 2001 the entire Calleen Collection was put on display and a plaque unveiled in honour of Patricia Fagan. Her son Peter and his wife Jenni wrote of their mother’s extraordinary generosity

2006 Calleen Art Award, Peter Fagan and Jacque Schultze, Director, Cowra Regional Art Gallery, 2003–2007 (photo GC)

through The Calleen Trust. Her main objectives were …to bring the Arts which she loved, to Cowra; to encourage people to participate by painting; to eventually have a collection worthy of a Gallery similar to other Regional Galleries, which would firstly give those people who were unable to travel to other Galleries the opportunity to witness art; and conversely, to promote tourism by encouraging other people to travel here to our Gallery in Cowra6. The 2001 Calleen Award exhibition, opened in March by local and internationally renowned artist Mandy Martin, was the 2007 Festival Calleen Exhibition (photo GC)

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first to be held in the Cowra Regional Art Gallery. Patricia Fagan’s dream of an appropriate galley to exhibit and store the Calleen Collection had come to fruition. The Calleen Art Award under the stewardship of Patricia’s son and his wife – Peter and Jenni Fagan – has grown from strength to strength. At $20,000 it is a major prize and attracts some of Australia’s leading artists. Regional art prizes in New South Wales are not noted for their longevity. That said there are a few that have run the distance in terms of staying power. Among these are the Albury Art Prize (1947–), the Mosman Art Prize (1947–), the Muswellbrook Art Prize (1958–), the Bathurst Art Prize (1955–), Young visitor admiring Glyphs: Tree of Life by G. W. Bot, winner 2012 Calleen Art Award (photo JP)

the Maitland Art Prize (1957–), and the Jacaranda Art Prize, Grafton Regional Gallery (1961–). All of these began before their communities had their own galleries and all of these played a major role in creating the cultural changes necessary for the establishment of regional gallery spaces. New South Wales historically lagged behind its rival Victoria in building galleries to raise the cultural consciousness of its regional populations. The earliest regional gallery in New South Wales is the Broken Hill City Gallery built in 1904, followed by Tamworth Regional Gallery in 1919 and Manly Art Gallery and Museum in

2010 Calleen Art Award Judge, Professor Amanda Lawson (photo GC)

1924. None was erected again until Lismore Regional Gallery in 1953, followed by Newcastle Region Art Gallery (1957) and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (1959). Wagga Wagga Regional Gallery was the sole representative of the 1960s while the 1970s saw Maitland (1973), Muswellbrook (1976) and Wollongong (1978) open their galleries. The 1980s was the absolute floruit for New South Wales regional galleries with twelve new spaces opened between 1981 (Albury

2011 Calleen Art Award Judge, Deborah Ely (L), Mayor Cr Bill West (Centre) and Brian Langer, Director, Cowra Regional Art Gallery, 2008 to present (R) (photo GC)

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Regional Art Gallery) and 1988 (Bega Valley Regional Art Gallery,


Campbelltown City Art Gallery, Grafton Regional Gallery and the Tweed River Art Gallery)7. The reasons for the 1980s upsurge are complex and out of the context of the present essay. It is relevant however to note that the Australia Council Act of 1975 gave national voice to the importance of the arts (and places to house them) and provided an impetus for the political will to fund cultural activities. The roles of Harold Holt in forming the initial Australia Council for the Arts in 1967 and Gough Whitlam in celebrating Australia’s cultural achievements nationally and internationally are integral to any discussion of the developments in Australia’s regional cultural sector. So while the physical state of Cowra’s gallery did not come into existence until 2000, the

2012 Calleen Art Award Judge, Jason Smith, Director Heide Museum of Modern Art (photo GC)

popular will as seen in the activities of people like Patricia Fagan was well and truly in step with the most forward thinking of the 1970s and 1980s about the role of culture in the formation of national and in this instance, local identities. Galleries as sites of cultural memory are integral to each of us as individuals and as parts of a wider community or communities. The works in the Calleen Collection are as wide-ranging and varied as the artists who made them and it would be fair to say as the judges who select them. The Collection is a reflection of the ways that tastes in art move through time and that what is current or fashionable does not always make it as a winner, nor necessarily should it. Prizes such as the Calleen Art Award attract not only local and regional practitioners but also artists from larger

2013 Calleen Art Award Judge, Anne Flanagan, Deputy Director AGNSW with the winning work Anwekety (Bush Plum) By Gladdy Kemarre (photo GC)

centres. This unusual even unique admixture posits particular issues for selectors and judges, in that they will not necessarily be familiar with the work of some of the artists.

2013 Calleen Art Award Judge, Anne Flanagan, with David and Anne Stanley, and Jenni Fagan (photo GC)

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As the Australian art world developed exponentially post the 1970s and the number of artists emerging from the rapidly expanding tertiary art school sector dramatically increased so too did the variety of art (painting) proffered for evaluation through the judging processes of art prizes. The results as seen in the Calleen Collection exemplify diverse and open-ended stylistic patterns in which it is difficult to predict any single prevailing trend from the entered works. What is however clear is that Australian 2015 – Peter Fagan (Calleen Trust) and Yvone Boag (Calleen Winner) (photo GC)

painting is alive and well and open to expressing the myriad of influences that operate at any one time in our contemporary world in singular and idiosyncratic pictorial languages. The Calleen Collection exemplifies the inclusiveness of contemporary Australian practice. Patricia Fagan’s dream is an important reality in Australian visual arts. Her legacy forms a major component of not only Cowra’s cultural calendar, its wider life and identity, but also of the national cultural landscape. Patricia Fagan’s passion continues through the ongoing efforts of Peter and Jenni Fagan to maintain her legacy. The passion so generously evinced by Patricia Fagan finds its equal in their determined enthusiasm.

2016 Calleen Art Award Judge, John Cheeseman, Gallery Director, Mosman Art Gallery (photo GC)

Peter Haynes Canberra

Calleen Collection 40 Year Anniversary exhibition opening December 2017 (photo GC)

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Notes: 1. The information in this section of the text was provided by Peter and Jenni Fagan in an interview with the author on 29 August 2017, and with (unsigned) written material supplied by the Cowra Regional Art Gallery. 2. Mollie Gowing had a long association with the Art Gallery of New South Wales where she was initially a volunteer guide. She left a very generous bequest to that Gallery for general acquisitions and specifically for the purchase of contemporary Aboriginal art. 3. Letter to the Secretary, Order of Australia from Mr Rod Blume dated 19 May, 1994. 4. I acknowledge the work of Gwen Clark’s Historical Notes on Cowra’s Festival of the Lachlan Valley Exhibitions for much of the factual information included in this text.

2017 Calleen Art Award Judge, Angus Trumble, Director, National Portrait Gallery, and Calleen Trustee, Jenni Fagan (photo GC)

5. op.cit. 1. 6. Cited in The Cowra Guardian, February, 2001. 7.  McCulloch’s Encyclopaedia of Australian Art (Melbourne 2006) provides excellent coverage of Australian art prizes (Prizes, Awards and Scholarships pp.1153–1186); and of regional galleries across Australia (Public Art Galleries and Art Museums pp.1082–1126).

Calleen Collection 40 Year Anniversary exhibition installation December 2017 (photo GC)

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JUDGES 1977 John Santry, tutor, Australian Watercolour Institute 1978 Joshua Smith (1905–1995), artist 1979 Miss Lucy Hertz, Head of School of Art and Design, Gymea 1980 Garth Dixon (1924–2015), artist, academic, conservationist 1981 Clem Millward, artist 1982 Colin Parker, Fellow of the Royal Art Society of NSW 1983 J. Lindsay Sever, artist 1984 Campbell Gray, Director, Penrith Regional Art Gallery 1985 John Santry, artist and political cartoonist 1986 Greg Turner, artist 1987 Ann Thomson, artist 1988 Dorothy Davies, artist 1989 Pamela Thalben-Ball, artist 1990 James Wynne, artist 1991 Kasey Sealy, artist 1992 Greg Turner, artist 1993 Harold Scott, artist, member Royal Art Society 1994 Allan Waite, artist, member Royal Art Society 1995 Peter O’Neill, Director, Wollongong City Art Gallery 1996 Alan Sisley (1952–2014), Director, Orange Regional Gallery

David Wilson (1946–1998), artist and teacher

Elizabeth Bastian, CEO, Arts-Out-West

1997 Hendrick Kolenberg, Senior Curator, Australian Prints, Drawings and Watercolours, Art Gallery of NSW

David Wilson (1946–1998), artist and teacher

Gary Jones, artist and senior lecturer, University of Newcastle

1998 Louise Doyle, Director, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery

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Paul Delprat, Principal, Julian Ashton School of Art

Ada Clark, artist and gallerist, Millthorpe

THE CALLEEN COLLECTION


JUDGES 2001 Mandy Martin, artist and lecturer 2002 Robert Bell, Curator, Australian and International Decorative Arts and Design, National Gallery of Australia 2003 Helen Maxwell, Director, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra 2004 Tim Storrier, artist 2005 Peter Haynes, Director, Canberra Museum and Gallery and the Nolan Gallery 2006 Tony Bond, General Manager, Curatorial Services, Art Gallery of NSW 2007 Robert Bell, Senior Curator, Decorative Arts and Design, National Gallery of Australia 2008 Dr Deborah Hart, Senior Curator, Australian Painting and Sculpture after 1920, National Gallery of Australia 2009 Peter Haynes, Director, Canberra Museum and Gallery and the Nolan Gallery 2010 Professor Amanda Lawson, Dean of the Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong 2011 Deborah Ely, CEO, Bundanon Trust 2012 Jason Smith, Director/CEO, Heide Museum of Modern Art 2013 Anne Flanagan, Deputy Director, Art Gallery of NSW 2014 Michael Rolfe, CEO, Museums and Galleries of NSW 2015 Dr Andrew Frost, lecturer, broadcaster and art critic, Guardian Australia 2016 John Cheeseman, Cultural Services Manager and Gallery Director, Mosman Art Gallery 2017 Angus Trumble, Director, National Portrait Gallery 2018 Michael Hedger, Director, Manly Art Gallery & Museum

Note: Judges titles current at time of judging.

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WINNERS 1977 Thelma Greer

1998 Peter H. Marshall

1978 Robert Newman

1999 No Award

1979 Ruth Lowe

2000 No Award

1980 Lola Cullen

2001 Jane Bruce

1981 Daphne O’Brien (co-winner)

2002 Mandy Martin

1981 Geraldine Belton (co-winner)

2003 Ljubov Seidl (co-winner)

1982 Margaret Early

2003 Marzena Wasikowska (co-winner)

1983 Judith White 1984 Geoffrey Harvey 1985 Allan McClure 1986 Dorothy Davies 1987 Suzanne Archer 1988 C. Darcy Forden 1989 Dorothy Davies 1990 Nancy V. Merritt 1991 John Parkinson 1992 Nanette Basser 1993 Judy Pennefather 1994 John Wilson 1995 Betty Seers 1996 Prue Hawke (co-winner) 1996 Leyla Spencer (co-winner) 1997 Yvonne Langshaw

2004 Greg Daly 2005 Meg Buchanan 2006 David Fairbairn 2007 Martin Coyte 2008 Wendy Teakel (co-winner) 2008 Lorna Crane (co-winner) 2009 Rowen Matthews 2010 Claire Martin 2011 Peter Gardiner 2012 G. W. Bot 2013 Gladdy Kemarre 2014 Naomi White 2015 Yvonne Boag 2016 Tania Mason 2017 Zai Kuang 2018 Brian Robinson

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WINNERS

OF THE

CALLEEN

ART AWARD 1977–2018


Still Life oil on board 64 x 89 cm

THELMA GREER 1977 There is little biographical information on the winner of the

to painting that (again) assumed an a priori pre‑eminence

first Calleen Prize, Thelma Greer. She is not mentioned in any

of oil paintings over work in other media.

of the standard references nor is there any record of work by her coming to auction in Australia. The Prize ($1000) was part of the Cowra Festival of the Lachlan Valley Art Exhibition and was held in the Coach House Motor Inn in Kendal Street, Cowra. The Prize was acquisitive and the winning work would become part of the Cowra Council Collection. The exhibition brochure lists 22 works in Section B (The Calleen prize (sic)). Of these 10 were from regional New South Wales, regional in this instance encompassing towns around Cowra including Bathurst, Canowindra, Cootamundra, Mandurama, Orange, and Young). Greer exhibited 2 works – Still Life and Happy Days – both oils. It is interesting to note that apart from one work in tempera, all exhibited entries to the Prize were oils. This may reflect both an assumed hierarchy of media (with oil holding the most prestige) and a traditionalist approach

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It would be fair to say that the judge, John Santry, could be classified as a traditionalist in his approach to his own practice and his choice of Greer’s Still Life reflects this. The work owes much to late Impressionism. I am thinking in particular of the intimate interiors and still life paintings of French artists, Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard, paintings in which the motif was (often) subsumed into patterns dominated by colour but always held together by a subtle infusion of underlying structure. Greer’s work also reveals her experience of Cubism as seen especially in her distortion of perspective and fracturing of picture planes to create a vital spatial configuration quietly unified by the overall patterning and the strong presence of the central motif of the vase of flowers.


Restorer’s Dream acrylic on board, 59 x 89.5 cm

ROBERT NEWMAN 1978 Like the first Calleen winner biographical details of 1978

cognoscenti or the “opinion-makers”). Its image of the

winner Robert Newman are scarce. We do know that he

deserted farm house with dilapidated fence and barn is

continued to exhibit in the Calleen Prize from 1979 to 1985

characterised not so much by its stylistic and thematic

and (apparently) lived in Cootamundra. 1978 saw less

familiarity as by the artist’s attention to the rendering of the

metropolitan entries in favour of a very high percentage

light of the Australian bush. This is achieved particularly in

of Cowra region artists. While oil paintings continued to

the depiction of the sky and the distant hills that form the

predominate there was a slight infiltration of acrylics and

background of the composition. The ethereal presence of

other media. The judge was the painter Joshua Smith who

the sky suffuses the painting, its quiet tones providing pictorial

had achieved unwelcome notoriety when William Dobell’s

depth while invoking the vastness of the Australian bush. The

portrait of him was awarded the 1943 Archibald Prize for

artist’s use of space is adept. The placement of the tree and

portraiture. The controversy around this is now legendary

its curving foliage at the left hand edge of the frontal plane

in Australian art history but the surrounding contemporary

indicates the space around and beyond the derelict farm

publicity was for Smith personally intrusive and hurtful. Despite

buildings and in doing this highlights the contrasts between

this he went on to win the 1944 Archibald. Smith’s essentially

the organic forms of the tree, the hill and the sky with the

realist style did not ever see him in the vanguard of Australia

carefully delineated house, fences and barn. Newman also

art but he remained a respected figure until his death in 1995.

uses tonal contrasts to achieve a gentle image of times past.

Newman’s Restorer’s Dream is typical of much of Australian painting (although not necessarily that favoured by the

Its simplicity, non-declarative stance and romanticising of an unstated bush narrative holds a quiet charm.

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RUTH LOWE 1979 Ruth Lowe was born in Berlin in 1923 and migrated to Australia (Sydney) in 1938. She began her working life as a milliner before embarking on art studies at the National Art School at East Sydney Technical College in 1959. She also studied with Maximilian Feuerring from 1966 to 1968. She only began exhibiting in 1970 (Woollahra Gallery) but continued her art up to her death. She exhibited in a number of prizes and an example of her work related to the Calleen work can be seen at the Grafton Regional Gallery. That work Ivy (1981) was a prize winner in the Jacaranda Art Prize and was gifted to the Gallery by the Jacaranda Art Society in 1988. The 1979 Calleen Prize exhibited 61 works from artists again principally from the central west of New South Wales but also from Sydney, Wollongong, Armidale, Temora and Wagga Wagga. Lowe is listed in the catalogue as living in Castle Hill, Sydney. As with the previous exhibitions landscapes predominate and I would suggest that that would be the case for most exhibitions held in Australia outside the metropolitan centres. The judge Lucy Hertz was Head Teacher of Art and Design at the Gymea campus of the National Art School. She came with no predisposition towards any particular style(s). The winning work Interior is a cleverly nuanced work blending (hyper-) realistic renditions of a curtain and an electrical cord and outlet set within the corner of a room.

Interior

The geometries of the interior space are sharp and clear

acrylic on canvas 113 x 89.5 cm

feeling of movement in the otherwise very still(-ed) space.

while the sweeping gestural folds of the curtain create a The rich teal of the curtain sits in high contrast with the muted palette of the walls and ceiling. The beginnings of a window against the far right of the picture plane insert another linear component that is nicely contrasted with the perpendicularity of the electrical cord that moves up the corner of the room into the ceiling. The consequent loop created by the drop of the cord from the ceiling is another playful compositional component that echoes the folds of the curtain. This is a clever picture that plays with the elision of the abstract and the real. Moving beyond its surface appeal we are also confronted with the spiritual and the metaphysical. Realism as philosophical statement is conveyed through Lowe’s control of means and understanding of end.

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LOLA CULLEN 1980 Lola Cullen has an extensive exhibition experience spanning more than 50 years but there remains little published about her and her work. We know that she lived in Dubbo at the time of the 1980 Calleen Prize, but later moved to Bateman’s Bay on the New South Wales South Coast where she was an active member of the South Coast Modern Art Group. In 2015 when she was in her eighties she held a solo exhibition at the Red Door Gallery in Sydney’s Summer Hill. The 1980 exhibition with 65 on show was again exemplified by landscapes, mostly done in oils and dominated by artists from the central west of New South Wales. The geographic spread however was widening and as well as from Sydney and regions artist from South Australia, Katoomba, Goulburn and Canberra were represented. The academic, artist and conservationist Garth Dixon was the judge. Lola Cullen’s Red and white magnolias bears a superficial resemblance to Thelma Greer’s 1977 winning work Still Life. The resemblance though quickly dissipates on close examination. Cullen’s piece looks to 17th – and 18th-century still life paintings and perhaps also to the open-door/window interiors of Grace Cossington Smith. Her composition is carefully structured. Within a set of horizontal and vertical lines she places a vase of flowers on a small circular table. Table, vase and flowers are almost the only non-linear elements apart from a serpentine scroll pattern on the wallpaper above the window. Space is carefully delineated

Red and White Magnolias

through a series of rectangular prisms beginning with the

acrylic on canvas 90 x 66 cm

is intimate and inviting and complemented by the insertion

spaces of the garden outside the window. The pastel palette of the patterned carpet, the foliage of the exterior garden and of course the natural forms of the magnolias. This is a nice work that happily fits with Matisse’s maxim that a painting should be like a comfortable armchair, somewhere to relax and feel comfortable.

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DAPHNE O’BRIEN (CO-WINNER) 1981 Daphne O’Brien was born in 1923 in Wellington, New South Wales. She is cited in the 1991 edition of Max Germaine’s A Dictionary of Women Artists of Australia but further published information on her career is scarce. From the catalogue we know that she was living in St Ives on Sydney’s upper North Shore when she entered the Calleen Prize. Of the 68 exhibited works the great majority was in oil and landscape remains the most popular genre. O’Brien’s work, Tribal Lands, depicts a rock face in an essentially realist mode. The face is broken up into geometric shapes (squares and rectangles) that animate the picture plane and provide formal contrast to the calligraphic foliage and cascading stream that move across the picture plane. Their organic forms and intimation of slow but inevitable movement further contrast with the static solidity of the rock wall and the air of mystery it commands. The element of mystery is further underscored by the dark palette. The darkness imparts a shadowy veil that covers the pictorial surface. The veil works aesthetically and metaphorically and injects an air of melancholy, a quiet allusion to the inhabitants of the lands of the title.

Tribal Lands acrylic on canvas 74.5 x 59.5 cm

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THE CALLEEN COLLECTION


GERALDINE BELTON (CO-WINNER) 1981 Clem Millward the judge for the 1981 Prize split the award that year. Geraldine Belton, the co-winner was born in Sydney in 1954 and was known primarily as a printmaker. She is recorded as living in Craige in the exhibition brochure. I found no reference to Craige but there is a suburb of Perth named Craigie and perhaps that is where the artist lived when she entered the Prize? Again, there is little published material on this artist. Her work, Boy Monk, steps outside the majority landscape paintings with its subject matter of the young Buddhist monk. The boy is the central image. He sits in contemplative pose head resting on hand, eyes cast downward, deep in thought. Like O’Brien’s work above the picture plane is divided into a number of geometric shapes. These are tonally light and their pastel shades again present a series of layered veil-like forms that divide the deep space of the composition and seem to float around the central figure. The abstract forms sit in sharp contrast to the realistically portrayed monk. The saffron yellow of his habit, the black of his eyes and head are also dramatically contrasted with the soft blue and grey hues of the forms that surround him. There is a stillness in this work that sits nicely with its meditative quality.

Boy Monk oil on canvas 89 x 59.5 cm

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MARGARET EARLY 1982 Margaret Early was born in 1951 in the New England region of New South Wales. She received a BA from the University of Sydney (1972); a diploma from the Shillito School of Design, Sydney and a Postgraduate Diploma from the prestigious St Martin’s School of Art in London. She has an extensive exhibition history dating from the mid-1970s and has shown regularly with Sydney’s Robin Gibson Gallery since 1999. As well as being an artist she is a highly acclaimed children’s book author. She lived in Mosman in Sydney when she submitted her winning work. Autumn was one of only three gouaches (the other 2 were also by her) in the predominately oil-based entries (37 from 56 total) of that year. Landscape again proved to be the most popular theme and here too Early stood apart from the majority. Autumn is a relatively small work (69.5 x 50 cm) and while its title implies some landscape connection the real subject of the painting is the beautifully patterned surface on which sits a selection of leaves. While the pattern is ostensibly the background its carefully controlled yet visually frenetic activity places it clearly as the area with which the artist is most concerned. The black and blue components read as a tiled floor. References to images of late Mediaeval and Renaissance interiors provide a rich source and Early is able to capitalise on her knowledge of these to produce a pictorially dramatic work. The floor is not flat but rather a series of horizontal layers united by the overall patterning.

Autumn gouache on paper 69.5 x 50 cm

The slight tonal variations in blue between each layer imbue movement in and out of the picture plane. This is cleverly contrasted with the lateral thrusts of each layer pushing across the spatial configuration. The leaves are scattered not just over the surface but also through it producing a dialogue between the abstract and the real, the geometric with the organic. This is a visually rich painting, layered both pictorially and conceptually.

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THE CALLEEN COLLECTION


Reflections and Refractions acrylic and pastel on board 70 x 90 cm

JUDITH WHITE 1983 Born in Sydney in 1951, Judith White trained at the National

classical simplicity to her composition. The central stream

Art School before studying at the University of Sydney where

meanders in a serpentine path from the back to the front

she received a BA majoring in Fine Arts in 1988. White is also

of the picture plane. It is bordered by trees, grasses and

a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute. She has

rocks whose placement highlights the centrality of the

an extensive exhibiting history covering more than 30 years

stream. The verticality of these elements contrasts sharply

and as well as the Calleen Prize she has won many prizes

with the stream where the artist has used mostly horizontal

including the Mosman Art Prize, the Maitland Art Prize and

brushstrokes in its depiction. The horizontality is subtly

the Fleurieu Peninsula McLaren Vale Prize.

underscored by the occasional and random placement of areas of yellow into the otherwise predominately blue/grey

White’s thematic concerns lie chiefly with the depiction of

of the water. This device also moves the viewer through the

the Australian landscape. The title of the Calleen work –

painting. The placement of the foliage as border keeps the

Reflections and Refractions – points to a particular interest

area around the stream as an open space, a space where

in the depiction of light and its effect on the components

viewers can vicariously begin their journey through the

of the bush landscape. Just as the landscape is layered

picture. The trees on either side of the frontal picture plane

so too is White’s means of technically realising her motif.

frame the beginning of each viewer’s visual dialogue with

In Reflections and Refractions the textured surfaces of

the picture and invite us in for further investigation. White’s

trees, rocks and other elements are assiduously worked on

landscape remains soft and welcoming without denying

to produce painterly equivalents of her natural sources.

the often roughly textured surfaces and scraggly filigrees of

Through layering and the combination of various media

the Australian bush flora. The lightness of her palette aligned

(here, acrylic and pastel) White produces a visually fertile

with her ability to capture the patterns and forms of nature

surface within a lyrical spatial configuration. There is a

give this work a special attraction.

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Arnott’s Building acrylic on canvas 81 x 107 cm

GEOFFREY HARVEY 1984 Geoffrey Harvey was born in 1954 in Sydney where he still

Arnott’s Building is characteristic of Harvey’s forays into

lives and works. He studied at the National Art School and

photorealism that characterised his early work. It is a fine

at the (then) Alexander Mackie College of Advanced

example not only of the artist’s work but of the photorealist

Education from where he received a Diploma in Art in 1977.

genre in Australian art history. The somewhat bland façade

In 1987 he was awarded an MA (Fine Art) from the (then) City

of the building is enlivened by the symmetrically placed trio

Art Institute. He has been exhibiting regularly throughout

of arched windows in the top half of the picture. The biscuit

Australia since 1977 and has also shown in Paris and London.

colour is broken by serried triangles of light and the windows

His work is held in numerous collections including the

and their attached shutters. The thin line of sky at the very

National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South

top reinforces the division of the painting into horizontal

Wales, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Gallery

bands. The bottom plane has a bold blue palette, darker

of South Australia, Artbank, and regional, institutional,

to the left-hand edge. The Arnott’s label and logo of the

corporate and private collections in Australia and the USA.

brightly coloured parrot have an intensity of colour that is

His many awards include most recently the Muswellbrook

visually very effective. The blue of the ground floor façade

Painting Prize (2017), the Northern Beaches Art Prize (2017),

is interrupted by the (again) biscuit yellow of a telephone

the Warringah Painting Prize (2016) and the Korea-Australia

box. I have incorporated the word biscuit to describe the

Arts Foundation Painting Prize (2016).

artist’s choice of colour purposefully to indicate the obvious connection between subject and manner of delivering it. The urban geometries seen here demonstrate the proficiency of Harvey’s techniques and the sureness of his use of colour.

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Boat Harbour, Wollongong oil on board 59.5 x 90.5 cm

ALLAN McCLURE 1985 Reference material on Allan McClure is limited. However

the front of the picture plane, the tree-filled hills at the back

from a report in the Twin Town Times dated 15 October 2015

of the harbour and the fluffy dancing clouds at the top of the

we know that he won the G.O.Kruger Memorial Prize at the

painting. There is also compositional sureness in McClure’s

Harden Murrumburrah Art Show and that he still lived in

confident inclusion of a variety of shapes throughout

Cootamundra where he lived when he submitted his winning

the spatial configuration of the picture. This is seen in the

work to the Calleen Prize. The article also cites that he was

rectangular white buildings in the mid-ground, the timber

a “well-known artist and Tafe (sic) art teacher (who) has

shack at the left-hand edge, the whites of the boats’ hulls

guided the skills and careers of many local artists”.

and cabin, all adding to a controlled morphological richness

Boat Harbour, Wollongong is a charming portrayal of a busy harbour filled with fishing boats and backed by the

that is matched by the varied palette. The figures at the front add a narrative human touch.

dramatic topography of the Wollongong district and an equally dramatic and dynamic cloud-filled sky. McClure is basically a realist and ensures that his protagonists are clearly rendered. This work is also informed by a form of tonal Impression that the artist very efficaciously infiltrates into areas such as the waters of the harbour at (almost)

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DOROTHY DAVIES 1986 As with many of the early winners of the Calleen Prize references to them do not appear in any of the available major art references. What we do know is that a Dorothy Davies was born in Melbourne in 1920 and that she practised as artist and teacher in Victoria and New South Wales. At the time of her winning submission she was listed as living at North Rocks in New South Wales. In 1988 Davies was the judge for the Calleen Prize and she is listed in the brochure as being an Associate of the Royal Art Society, one of Australia’s oldest art groups, based in North Sydney since 1880. A Feeling of Spring is a delightfully vivacious picture. Davies nicely captures the glories of spring blossoms in full bloom. The spindly trunks and branches of the trees seem barely able to support the profusion of colourful blooms that sit atop them. The graphic presence of the trunks is repeated in their shadows delineated on the green ground of the paddock. Their blackness is reminiscent of Japanese prints so important in the development of early Modernism in the latter part of the 19th-Century. Also present here is the sinuous curving characteristic of the Art Nouveau period especially as seen in France. While not wishing to place too many august progenitors onto this work it is not possible to ignore the example of the English Aesthetic period and much

A Feeling of Spring

of Australia’s own Impressionist art. Indeed (some

acrylic on board 79.5 x 63 cm

of) the work of Charles Conder during his period in Australia is particularly moot. All this aside the pictorial lushness and tonal fulsomeness of this work allied with the artist’s spatial and compositional understanding is very appealing.

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Billy’s Attic oil on paper 66.5 x 102 cm

SUZANNE ARCHER 1987 Suzanne Archer was born in England in 1945 and arrived

in the centre of the image surrounded by the paraphernalia

in Australia in 1965. Before coming to Australia she studied

that populate his attic room. The figure is childlike in

from 1961 to 1964 at the Sutton School of Art. Since 1969

the simplicity of the drawing, a simplicity reinforced by

she has held a prolific number of solo exhibitions including

the subversion of any attempt at real perspective. The

most recently Suzanne Archer: the alchemy of the studio at

idiosyncratic spatial configuration adopted by the artist

the Macquarie University Art Gallery in 2016. She has also

allows her to display all Billy’s things so that they are

appeared in many group exhibitions in Australia and the

immediately visible to the viewer, laid out as though we are

People’s Republic of China including at the Tianjin Meijiang

viewing them aerially. Figure and objects are outlined in

Art Gallery (2014) and the Beijing Art Space (2012). Her work

black then coloured-in in a manner that again reinforces

is in major collections throughout Australia including the

the directness and simplicity that Archer embraces. There

National Gallery of Australia, the Art Galley of New South

is of course a good dose of the graphic qualities of much

Wales, and the National Gallery of Victoria. Among her many

Expressionist art and there is hovering in the background the

awards and prizes are the Dobell Prize for Drawing (2010),

recent revival of Expressionist modes in painting that informed

the Kedumba Drawing Award (2010), the Wynne Prize (1994)

much contemporary art in Europe, the United States and

and the Faber-Castell Prize for Drawing (1985).

Australia in the late 1970s and 1980s. Archer’s art historical

Archer’s work from the 1980s is characterised by an immediacy, energy and a pictorial vocabulary that has a primitive energy to it. Billy’s Attic has the protagonist standing

references however are held lightly in favour of the expression of her own stylistic language. This is a rich and vital work, energetic and embracing in the power of its visual directness.

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Gippsland Bush C. Darcy Forden Winner 1988 acrylic and watercolour on paper 69 x 90.5 cm

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Gippsland Bush acrylic and watercolour on paper 69 x 90.5 cm

C. DARCY FORDEN 1988 C. Darcy Forden was born in 1917 and died in 1989. His work

and through the picture plane. Like our early Impressionists

is in the collection of the Manly Art Gallery and Museum

Forden captures the rays of light moving through the bush,

and that in 1990 following his death that institution held an

that light whose tonal qualities give a particularly Australian

exhibition of 38 of the artist’s work. Unfortunately there is no

character to the image.

information on the artist in standard references but he must have had some standing to be given a survey exhibition at one of Sydney’s leading institutions.

modernist painting than with 19th-century Impressionism.

Gippsland Bush clearly demonstrates the artist’s

creates both a real and an imaginative visual caesura.

considerable understanding of pictorial composition and

The viewer is stopped (visually) before moving into the

spatial configuration. These qualities are elided with the

body of the work. The space immediately behind the grass

palette that beautifully captures the characteristic colours

drops away from the frontal plane, creating a rhythmical

of the Australian bush landscape. Forden’s motif is one

sweep through the trees to the scattered low foliage at

familiar to the Australian Impressionists and the example of

the back of the trees. The graphic linearity of the trees

particularly the late 1880s landscapes of Tom Roberts and

and their predominantly black trunks is nicely contrasted

Arthur Streeton hold evident relevance. The straggly verticals

with the softer hues of the areas of foliage and brush.

of the tree trunks (variously black, white and greys) create a

Forden has learned the lessons of those artists that initiated

dense amalgam of lines pushing up to the top of the picture

an “Australian” school of landscape painting and has

plane. This verticality is played off against the silhouetted

transcribed those into a contemporary vision of the bush.

foliage of the trees, highlighted by the deft use of light across

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Forden also employs painterly devices more associated with

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The band of grass across the very front of the picture plane


DOROTHY DAVIES 1989 Dorothy Davies has a “history” with the Calleen Prize as both winner (1986 & 1989) and judge (1988). Her brief biographical details (above) obviously do not equate with her considerable skill and achievement as an artist. The Lighthearted Letterbox was the winner from 60 exhibited works done in a range of media (including, but not on this occasion dominated by, oils) but with the ubiquitous landscape as the preeminent subject matter. The vivacity of Davies’ 1986 winning work A Feeling of Spring is present in this work. Here the injection of whimsy and humour adds another dimension. The eponymous letterbox has an almost cartoon quality in the manner in which it is depicted. There are no straight edges. The curved roof and the stand on which the box sits mimic the swirling branches of the tree and the petals on the brightly coloured flowers that dominate the overall composition. The swirls continue throughout the picture plane and although their colour dissipates at the top and back of the work, the pattern-like presence provides a form of organic unity. The profusion of curved forms and lines allied with brightly coloured flowers imparts a joyous energy to this happy work.

The Light-hearted Letter Box oil on board 82.5 x 64.5 cm

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Water Lilies in Rainforest oil on board 54 x 73 cm

NANCY V. MERRITT 1990 Merritt is another instance of there being essentially

Merritt’s painting is lush and rich. There is a sense of nature’s

no references to her or her work in any of the standard

fecundity in the densely packed reeds, and the fulsome trees

Australian texts, artist dictionaries or auction records.

beyond the pond. The latter occupies the front of the picture

Her work Waterlilies in the Rain Forest was one of 46 in the

plane, its surface reflecting the reeds and other foliage and

1990 Prize, one of the majority artists working in oils, and of

the background sky. The example of Monet is difficult to

tackling the ubiquitous theme of the Australian landscape.

avoid given the painting’s subject-matter and title. However,

It exemplifies that while the landscape may dominate

and as one would expect, there are substantial differences,

subject matter, the individual aesthetic languages of

aesthetically and conceptually. Monet’s waterlilies are about

artists produce many ways of looking and interpreting.

light and the manner in which it dissimulates surface creating

These excite and provoke viewers’ imaginative responses

essentially abstract images in which while the motif is present

to a theme that continues to contribute to the ways that

that motif is not preeminent. Merritt’s work is defiantly about

Australians see themselves and their nation.

her subject-matter. The tonal richness she infuses into this work is a celebration both of the beauty of the Australian rain forest and the power of the activity of painting.

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Old Trawler Jetty oil on board 54.5 x 74.5 cm

JOHN PARKINSON 1991 John Parkinson was born in 1921 in New South Wales, and

There is a quiet naturalness to the scene, an image of tranquil

was living at The Entrance on the Central Coast of New

and embracing warmth. Parkinson uses a light palette and

South Wales when he won the 1991 Calleen Prize. He took

connects various areas of the composition through familial

up full-time painting in 1970, prior to which he worked as

tonal areas. The sky and the water, for example, hold similar

a commercial artist and illustrator. His first solo exhibition

hues. Clever use of linear elements such as the low horizon

was held in 1980. Of the 33 exhibited works, 12 were in

and the sharp diagonals of the jetty divide the composition

oils (including Parkinson’s), the rest a mixture of acrylics,

while simultaneously moving the eye around the painting.

watercolours, mixed media and prints. Landscape again

This is a simple painting that captures the serenity often

constituted the majority subject-matter.

found in singular activity in pleasant surroundings.

Old Trawler Jetty is a neatly constructed image exemplified by a low horizon line, wide-ranging sky and detailed renderings of the shoreline and the fishing boats at the jetty.

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Summer Landscape acrylic and pastel on paper 54.5 x 74.5 cm

NANETTE BASSER 1992 Summer Landscape, Nanette Basser’s winning work in

understanding of the example of Cézanne, this is clearly

the 1992 Prize was one of 22 exhibited works, again mostly

filtered through Basser’s own aesthetic vocabulary. Her

landscapes and oils. There is some information available

landscape is more about the immediacy of visual impact

on the artist including that she lived in East Lindfield, Sydney,

than about nature’s underlying structures. The frenetic

when she entered the Calleen Prize. We know that in 1988

activity across the surface in one sense denies structure in

she won the Warringah Art Award and in 1990 was a finalist

favour of an immersive pictorial embrace that places the

in the prestigious Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South

viewer directly in the painting. While structure may not be

Wales with her painting Across the Dividing Range. Basser

the artist’s ostensible concern it is certainly present. Devices

also practised as a book illustrator.

such as the slight diagonal pushing up from the bottom right

Summer Landscape is a bright and energetic picture. The landscape is broken down into a series of almost abstract areas that intersect and collide with one another in an active and vital composition. While there is evidence of an

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THE CALLEEN COLLECTION

into the mid-ground of the painting intimate an horizon and thus ground the entire spatial and tonal configuration. Like many works in the Calleen Collection Summer Landscape is a celebration of our land, this time viewed with an eye at ease with the example of early Modernism.


Bush Walk oil on canvas 82 x 112.5 cm

JUDY PENNEFATHER 1993 Born in Sydney in 1934 Judy Pennefather began her art

The foreground occupies two thirds of the composition. Its

studies at the Royal Art Society in the early 1970s. This was the

central feature is a path that continues to the front edge of

beginning of a long association with that august institution

the picture plane. It ambles through the painting to an area

including becoming its first female President in 2000, a

bordered by trees where it drops off into the deep space of

position she held until her retirement in 2015. She received

the back ground. The path is at its widest at the front where

her Royal Art Society Diploma in 1984 and became a Fellow

its openness draws the viewer in to visually follow its course

of the Society in 1988. Her studies there were initially with

through the bush. Pennefather’s use of colour is dramatic

portrait painter Allan Hansen, and portraiture is the area

and the splashes of purple dispersed throughout the picture

in which her work is mostly concentrated. Her proficiency

exemplify this. These can be read as literal elements of the

in that field is well-recognised most notably in her being a

landscape (rocks, foliage) or as tools to move the viewer’s

finalist in the Archibald Prize (1980), the Doug Moran National

eye through the composition. Apart from the trees the

Portrait Prize (1988) and the Portia Geach Memorial Award

artist is not really interested in realistic depiction preferring

on a number of occasions including being the winner in 1980.

inference as a means of evoking the beauties of the walk.

Pennefather has also turned her talents to other genres and

The foreground is a patterned abstraction of variously

landscape is foremost among these.

coloured swathes of brushstrokes whose directional sweep

Bush Walk is a literally inviting picture in the manner in which the artist has opened it to intimate viewer engagement.

create the contours of the topography and instil a lyrical shift that evokes the landscape and its moods.

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Sunrise Murrundi oil on board 89.5 x 120.5 cm

JOHN WILSON 1994 John Wilson began his career in the arts as a professional

picture plane. The mountain is shrouded in mist that imbues

musician before taking up painting. His first solo exhibition

its shadowy identity with an atmospheric intensity that stands

was held in 1979 and since then he has shown in numerous

in strong contrast to the detailed depiction of the paddocks

solo and group shows in the United Kingdom, the United

and houses that sit in front of it. The background blue tones

States, Canada and Japan as well as in Australia. He is

of mountain and sky are also tonally demarcated from the

a Fellow of the Royal Art Society, an institution that has

ochres, yellows and greens of the foreground. The blue‑grey

provided a number of Calleen Prize winners. A book on his

wisps of smoke emanating from the houses and drifting

art – John Wilson – The Journey Continues – was published

upwards over the mountain and towards the sky provide

in 2014. He lives and works in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains

visual connections between background and foreground

of New South Wales.

in a deft yet subtle manner. This is a quintessential Australian

Sunrise Murrundi is a beautiful work. The looming presence of the mountain dominates the image providing a dramatic background to the idyllic bucolic scene at the front of the

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scene painted with skill and technical confidence. The power of its atmospheric beauty allied with the subject clearly captures the ethos of our land.


BETTY SEERS 1995 Betty Seers’ Unison was unusual in the context of the 1995 Calleen Award in that unlike most of her fellow 32 exhibitors her work was not a landscape. Little information is available on the artist’s career. She was living in Orange at the time of the Calleen and had lived there for some time. She belonged to a local art group Studio 15, established in 1989 and still going in 2001, who exhibited regularly in Orange (including at the Orange Regional Gallery) and other regional centres in New South Wales. The Orange Regional Gallery holds one of her works in its permanent collection. Unison depicts koi in a fishpond viewed aerially. The artist has skilfully portrayed the rocks, lilies and grasses of the pond while also indicating the optical effects of the water on the fishes’ bodies. This is a gentle and pleasant picture that captures a singular moment; a stilled moment of appreciation for life’s simple pleasures.

Unison oil pastel on paper 76 x 56.5 cm

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PRUE HAWKE (CO-WINNER) 1996 Prue Hawke was born in 1959 and was resident in Orange when she was named co-winner of the 1996 Calleen Prize. She has exhibited in major group shows in the Central West including Alchemy: Cadia Hill Gold Mine Art Project (2002). There is no reference to her in any of the standard texts or auction records. Hawke’s painting Now I Know Grief is exemplary in its figurative subject-matter, being only the second winner (after another co-winner, Geraldine Belton, 1981) to take on human subject-matter. Again landscapes were the overwhelming majority in the 1996 Prize exhibition. Now I Know Grief is a direct and confrontational image. The figure sits in a spare and minimal space. The space is divided into a brown wall behind the sitter and a murky grey table in front of her. The sitter stares hypnotically towards the viewer. She wears a top whose stark whiteness offers a marked contrast to the brown wall behind. Her face framed by black hair is set and determined, stolid and unwavering, but replete with possibilities of imminent collapse. Her apparent composure and the minimalist setting could place her in court undergoing cross-examination by a determined barrister. In a sense searching for a setting is irrelevant. The artist has imbued this work with an innate psychological and emotional tension that finds its counterpart in her formal battery. The ostensibly simplistic composition belies its layered details. This is a picture that demands extensive consideration.

Now I Know Grief acrylic on canvas 150 x 117.5 cm

The figure’s neck and head are taut and stretched mirroring her inner condition. The upward thrust of these is visually and conceptually broken by the downward pull of the heavy breasts which almost sit on the top of the table. This falling movement is reinforced by the droopy perpendiculars of her arms that disappear below the table cloth making them more abstract than human. The intensity of this work has art historical precedents and one thinks of Modigliani and Picasso. The latter’s late 19th‑century and early 20th-century portraits carry a distinct resonance with Hawke’s piece. While stylistically the work owes little to Picasso the confrontational directness of the protagonist certainly does. The gravitas of Now I Know Grief attests to the power of the visual to convey emotional states in ways that absorb and hold the viewer.

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LEYLA SPENCER (CO-WINNER) 1996 Leyla Spencer is again an artist about whom little is available in standard reference sources. She studied at the Julian Ashton School in Sydney and was a Fellow of the Royal Art Society. She won the prestigious Mosman Art Award in 2010. That she lived in Marrickville, Sydney, at the time of the Calleen Prize is in the exhibition brochure. It is of interest to note that like her co-winner above, Leyla Spencer elected to exhibit a work outside the landscape genre. Her Still Life with Pears offers a visually quirky take on a centuries-old theme. She divides the canvas into essentially 2 areas. The top part has a patterned object (a chair?) draped with a yellow cloth and a white apron. The bottom has a horizontal band of grey on which sits a bowl of green pears. The viewpoint is (almost) aerial but Spencer plays with perspective and formal relationships to purposefully subvert the initial apprehension that greets the viewer. We are not sure where objects sit in relation to one another, nor if aerial and normal viewpoints are conflated. Whatever, there is a level of pictorial unity and harmony in this work that is immediate and attractive. Alongside perspective riddles Spencer also plays with spatial layering, often investing areas of the painting with an optical double take. The spotted pattern could sit beside the grey table holding the pears or it could sit under it. Is the lowest band of grey-green the shadow of the table or another element of that piece? One thinks here of comparisons with Cubist

Still Life with Pears

still life painting and particularly those of Georges Braque.

oil on canvas board 120 x 89 cm

that animated his work is present in Spencer’s although of

The manipulation of space, surface, colour and pattern course the vocabularies (formal and pictorial) are inherently different. This is an interesting picture that asks as much as it gives.

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Mountains of Stone oil on canvas 90.5 x 121 cm

YVONNE LANGSHAW 1997 Born in Sydney, Yvonne Langshaw studied at a number

her canvas dominate the picture plane. They loom over

of institutions there including the National Art School at

the foreground and crowd into the pictorial space. Their

East Sydney Technical College. She has been a Fellow, a

surfaces are filled with gestural painterly activity that

Councillor and Vice President of the Royal Art Society and

animates the forms and moves the viewer through the

since 1968 has been the recipient of many awards and prizes.

artist’s imaginative interpretations. Langshaw’s palette

As well as being in the Cowra Regional Art Gallery her work

is earthy and raw recalling the ochres, browns and reds

is in the collections of the Manly Art Gallery and Museum,

that (often) constitute the colours of our land. The spirit or

the Hornsby Shire Council, the Shoalhaven City Council and

natural energies within the forms that have promulgated

the Hills Grammar School. She has taught for many years and

her imagination are as important to the artist as is her

most recently was a member of the staff of the Northbridge

imaginative re-creation of them. This is a painting about

School of Visual Arts. She lives in Turramurra in Sydney.

mood and individual experience.

While Mountains of Stone is ostensibly a landscape it is as much an abstract encapsulation of the artist’s experience and memories of places rather than an interpretation of any specific area. The geomorphic forms that populate

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THE CALLEEN COLLECTION


Still Life oil on board 74 x 89 cm

PETER H. MARSHALL 1998 Peter H. Marshall was born in Victoria (Kanya) in 1964. His

especially post early Modernist interpretations, the picture

interest in art was fostered by his parents and he attended

plane is tilted forward into the viewer’s space. This device

the Ronald Crawford School of Painting in Melbourne before

immediately proposes a type of formal tension but also

leaving for Sydney in 1989 to attend The Julian Ashton Art

pushes the objects themselves into the foreground. While

School. The award of the AME Bale Scholarship in 1991

Marshall’s objects are typical, his treatment of them is not. The

enabled him to travel through Europe, America and Japan

fruit, plate, mugs and wine bottle are not carefully delineated

absorbing the historic and contemporary visual cultures of

but rather placed in a muted yellowish light. This gives

the many places he visited. He has been awarded numerous

each object a shadowy presence rather than a corporeal

prizes and has been a finalist in the Mosman Art Prize, the

identity. The artist imbues a physical softness into each object

Dobell Drawing Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

denying, for example, the natural hardness of the bottle or

(2001 – 2005, 2009), the Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize (2006,

the plate. The light suffuses the entire composition such that

2007, 2010) and the Mortimer Art Prize (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011,

objects almost merge into one another. The foreground

2012). He has exhibited in over 60 group and solo shows. He

cloth and background wall are treated in the same manner.

lives and works in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

This creates visual unity and an atmosphere of intimate

Still Life contains the classic elements of its genre – table, cloth, fruit, plate, mugs, wine bottle. Like many others,

domesticity as though the light emanates from a fireplace rather than an artificial source. Marshall’s Still Life is about familiarity and atmospheric warmth.

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Lidded Vessel cut blown glass 40 x 77 cm

JANE BRUCE 2001 Jane Bruce was born in Buckinghamshire in England and

DeBoos, Jeff Mincham, Anita McIntyre, Alan Watt and Ros

following undergraduate studies at Buckinghamshire College

Auld. The inclusion of 3-dimensional work added another

and the City of Leicester Polytechnic received an MA from

level to the exhibition and was the result of a restructure of

the Royal College of Art in London in 1973. From 1979 to 1981

the Prize promulgated by the building of the new gallery.

she undertook further postgraduate studies at the New York State College of Ceramics. Her teaching career is extensive included a period (1994 – 2004) in the Glass Workshop at the (then) ANU School of Art. Bruce has received numerous awards and prizes including Fellowships from the Creative Glass Centre of America and the New York Foundation for the Arts and a New Work Grant from the Australia Council. She exhibits internationally and her work is in many major collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Kunstsammlungen der Veste, Coburg; Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the National Art Collection, Wagga Wagga; the Queensland Art Gallery and the Powerhouse Museum,

form is presented as two parts – the top white, the bottom black. The form is flowing and full, curving upward to a small opening. The top section (the “white”) essentially comprises the shoulder and neck of the vessel. It is dramatically enlivened by the inclusion of a swirling cohort of cicatrices cut into the white glass overlay to reveal the black body beneath. The cuts defiantly energise the spatial flow around the work as well as providing stark visual contrast to the white skin, the latter simultaneously contrasting with the black body. The formal relationship between the 2 parts is subtle but visually very clear. The black marks and their energetic

Sydney. She currently lives and works in New York.

thrust around the top are neatly constrained by the black

Bruce’s winning work Lidded Vessel set a precedent for the

through the top opening). The body is patterned with black-

Calleen Prize. It was the first time a 3-dimensional object

on-black spots and their overall presentation and integrated

won the award. The 2001 exhibition also saw for the first

tonal absorption into the body offer quiet balance to the

time a large number of 3-dimensional entries, these mostly

freneticism of the scarred top. Lidded Vessel is a powerful

ceramics but including a small selection of glass works. The

work and an important example of the contemporary glass

ceramics contingent included some of Australia’s leading

movement both in Australia and internationally.

practitioners in that medium. Among them were Janet

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Lidded Vessel is a striking and commanding work. Its globular

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density of the body and the black colour of the interior (seen


Lost Landscapes – The Tailings Dam after Piguenit oil on canvas 89.5 x 165 cm

MANDY MARTIN 2002 Mandy Martin is a leading Australian artist with a career

Museum of Art, Reno. Martin currently lives and works in

covering more than 40 years. Born in Adelaide in 1952 she

Mandurama in the Central West of New South Wales.

studied there at the South Australian School of Art from 1972 to 1975. She moved to Canberra in 1978 and taught at the ANU School of Art from then until 2003. Since 2008 she has been an Adjunct Professor in the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the ANU. Martin has won many awards and commissions including a commission for the Main Committee Room of Parliament House, Canberra (1988), the Australian Opera 40th Anniversary Print Folio (1996), the John McCaughey Prize, National Gallery of Victoria (1983), the Hugh Williamson Prize, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery (1985) and the Alice Prize (1990). Her exhibition history in both group and solo shows from 1977 is vast. As well as numerous exhibitions in Australia, Mexico and the USA, she has exhibited in France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Taiwan. A major survey of her work was held at the Canberra Museum and Gallery in 2009 and the Cowra Regional Art Gallery hosted Homeground early in 2018, an exhibition that examined the artist’s concerns about environmental issues, issues that have occupied her art for the last 20 years. Her work is held many public and private collections in Australia and overseas including the National Gallery of Australia, most State galleries, many regional and institutional collections, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nevada

Lost Landscapes – The Tailings Dam after Piguenit highlights the artist’s abiding interest in art history and the elision of that with her concerns for the environment. Her art is exemplary of her view that the landscape remains a vital and viable genre for contemporary artists. For her the real environment and that environment depicted are in a state of ongoing dialogue. Her active involvement with both reinforces for her the ability of each to penetrate the other. She celebrates both the painted construct of landscapes and the land itself. Lost Landscapes – The Tailings Dam after Piguenit concerns a very particular place and her choice of Piguenit as historic reference is also particular. The canvas is divided into 3 horizontal bands, the bottom 2 more or less terrestrial, the top celestial. The juxtaposition of earth and sky is clear and iterates the both the necessity and fragility of that interrelationship. The low horizon line evokes the distances and isolation of the Australian landscape. Martin’s sky owes much to Piguenit’s The Flood in the Darling (1890) in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Its atmospheric immensity looms over the land with an ominous air, a portent of future change. This work beautifully encompasses the notion that both art and nature (for Martin the latter as manifested in her environment) exist as contiguous partners in the continuum of life.

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Lost Landscapes – The Tailings Dam after Piguenit Mandy Martin Winner 2002 oil on canvas 89.5 x 165 cm

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Still Life ceramic (dry glazed) 41, 39, 37.4 cm circumference x 37.5 cm (overall variable)

LJUBOV SEIDL (CO-WINNER) 2003 Ljubov Seidl was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and came

Seidl’s work Still Life consists of 3 dry glaze ceramic bottles.

to Australia (Sydney) in 1968. There is little information on the

Each has a monochrome palette, minimally decorated

artist but she was a practising artist (painting and sculpture)

with straight and angled vertical lines. The forms are simple

before she came to Australia. Her interest in ceramics

with full bodies surmounted by long, narrow cylindrical

appears to have arisen in Sydney where she also continued

necks. Her style owes much to her European heritage and

to work as a sculptor. In 2007 she won an award at the

particularly to the period post WWII. There is an understated

Sculptors’ Society annual exhibition and also an award in the

elegance in this group related to their declarative simplicity

Hunter’s Hill Art Prize in the same year. She also exhibited with

and quasi‑industrial appearance.

the Sculptors’ Society in 2008. Most recently she exhibited a ceramic piece in the 2018 Royal Agricultural Society’s Arts and Crafts Section at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum. She lives and works in Sydney.

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Forensic Landscape type C print 83 x 83 cm

MARZENA WASIKOWSKA (CO-WINNER) 2003 Marzena Wasikowska was born in Szczecin, Poland in 1962

the dense scrub that characterises the coastal flora. The

and migrated to Australia in 1974. She studied at the (then)

square format and concentration on an aspect of a place

Canberra School of Art graduating in 1987 with a BA (Visual)

rather than the totality of a place supply the forensic aspect

in Photomedia. She also undertook an MA at the same

of the title. Wasikowska uses the landscape as a trigger for

institution (2000), and is currently a doctoral candidate at

undefined memory. Viewers are invited to investigate the

the ANU School of Art. She has exhibited regularly in group

landscape in an objective, scientific way or allow themselves

and solo exhibitions since 1985, mostly in Australia but also

to be submerged in the image and let personal memories

in Poland, Belgium, Germany, and South Africa. In 1998/99

be evoked. The density of the tangled branches combined

Wasikowska worked in Poland where she was admitted

with the tunnel-like arrangement offers a space for seclusion

as a member of the Polish Art Photographers’ Association.

or escape, a meditative space, a space for thought. The

Her work is in a number of major collections including the

glimpsed sky at the top of the image supplies optimism,

Canberra Museum and Gallery, the Parliament House

a possibility for escape from the labyrinth of branches. The

Art Collection, Artbank and the Albury Regional Gallery.

artist’s image is at once visual and psychological. Her space

Forensic Landscape is one of a series of works that focus on

as imaged in Forensic Landscape is beautiful and allusive.

unnamed but specific locations on the south coast of New South Wales. The site is presented in close-up, highlighting

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GREG DALY 2004 Greg Daly is an internationally respected ceramic artist. He was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1954. He studied for a Diploma of Art at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (1975) and a Fellowship Diploma at the same institution (1976). He has an extensive teaching history with over 200 workshops and lectures delivered to college and ceramic groups throughout Australia and overseas, most recently in India (2018). He was Head of the Ceramics Workshop at the ANU School of Art from 2013 to his retirement in 2017. Daly’s list of awards and prizes begins in 1973 and continues through the 2000s. He is a Member of the International Academy of Ceramics, Geneva; a Member of the Australian Ceramic Association; a Member of French Academy of Science and Letters and the Ligue d’Enseignement et d”Education Sociale, France. Daly has held over 80 solo exhibitions throughout Australia and participated in over 200 group exhibitions in Australia and numerous overseas countries including Japan, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, France, Croatia, Spain, Turkey, Hungary, the United States, Germany, Poland, Korea and Egypt. His work is held in over 75 national and international collections, most State galleries in Australia and regional galleries throughout Australia. He is the author of 3 major texts on glazes and lustres. He currently lives and works in Cowra, New South Wales. Tripod vase with enamel, gold and silver leaf beautifully exemplifies the artist’s understanding of the importance of selecting the appropriate form and decoration to provide the cohesion of elements necessary to produce an aesthetically resolved artwork. It is a majestic piece. Daly has elected to use an essentially singular palette. Here a wonderful lime green is broken only by the insertion of

Tripod vase with enamel, gold and silver leaf ceramic 66 x 101 cm circumference

panels of coloured enamel and gold- and silver-leaf. The form is simple and demonstrates the artist’s consummate control and understanding of his material. The overall green underscores the form yet quietly insinuates the exquisite confluence of form and decoration that is a hallmark of Daly’s art. The decorative panels have implications of landscape origins. These are not specified but rather lightly transposed references, abstract marks designating unnamed landscape motifs but beautifully appropriate embellishments to the elegant vessel. Landscape is integral to the artist’s practice, an aspect of his daily life that continuously informs the way he looks and sees and ultimately the way he makes.

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Halfway Hills acrylic on canvas, 91.4 x 182.8 cm (diptych)

MEG BUCHANAN 2005 Meg Buchanan was born in 1949 and initially trained in

Canberra and Sydney. These trips infused the experience of

painting at the Newcastle School of Art (1968 – 1971) before

the landscape as something moved through and past as well

studying etching in Paris and New York. She was awarded

as being something solid and (to a certain extent) felt. Her

an MA (Visual Arts) from Monash University in Melbourne in

experience of landscape was simultaneously one of space

1998. Buchanan has lectured in tertiary institutions in Australia

and place. In Halfway Hills a series of black verticals (poles)

and overseas since 1974. Her most senior appointments were

moves laterally across the front of the picture plane. They

as Head of Foundation Studies at the ANU School of Art

are set apart from one another in a random yet rhythmically

(1992 – 1998) and Head of Printmaking at the National Art

harmonious line. The viewer moves both past them and

School in Sydney (1999 – 2001). As well as teaching she was

through them. They are both barrier and entry. The hills of the

the co-founder and Director of the Studio One print workshop

background hold an ominous and brooding presence. Their

in Canberra. Buchanan has been the recipient of numerous

domed forms are composed of layered horizontals of blues

awards and prizes including a Hill End residency (2006). She

and greys that activate the surface in ways not dissimilar to

has been exhibiting regularly since 1978 and in 2007 was the

the marks dancing lightly across the frontal black poles. The

subject of a major solo exhibition at the Canberra Museum

dark presence of the hills is partnered by the background sky

and Gallery. Her most recent group exhibition, Three Ways, was

that emerges from behind them and pushes upwards and

shown at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery in 2017. Her work is

across the pictorial space, its scumbled appearance adding

represented in major public collections including the National

a dynamic sense of movement that echoes the artist’s drive

Gallery of Australia, the Canberra Museum and Gallery and

through the landscape. This is a vital and dramatic work

the New York University. She lives and works outside Canberra.

with strong verticals and circular forms providing structure

Halfway Hills illustrates Buchanan’s use of the landscape as a rich vein for conceptual, thematic and aesthetic investigation. From 1998 to 2001 the artist travelled regularly between

to the painterly activity that is integral to its resolution. The combination of stasis and kinesis here is conceived and contrived with a masterly mind, eye and hand.

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DAVID FAIRBAIRN 2006 David Fairbairn was born in Zambia, Africa in 1949 and studied art at the Durban Technical College in South Africa before moving to England where he took an undergraduate degree in painting and printmaking at the West Surrey College of Art and Design (1974) and a postgraduate certificate in painting at the Royal Academy Schools in London. He travelled to Australia in 1981 where he met fellow painter Suzanne Archer (and 1987 Calleen winner) whom he married in 1985. Fairbairn has taught art for over 20 years and is currently a lecturer at the National Art School in Sydney. Since 1981 he has received over 40 awards and prizes including the Dobell Prize for Drawing (1999) and the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2002). Fairbairn has also been a finalist in the Archibald Prize on many occasions. He has been the subject of a number of solo exhibitions and appeared in over 50 group exhibitions in Australia and the United Kingdom. His work is represented in State, regional, institutional and private collections in Australia. He lives and works at Wedderburn outside Sydney. Portrait of Jeanette No.3 is an impressive example of David Fairbairn’s emotionally compelling portraiture. The work is charged with a vigorous immediacy that results from his consummate use of line and understanding of how line and gestural marks are able to suggest mass, form, time, space and energy within a single image. The artist uses a number of media (here acrylic, gouache, pastel and charcoal) not only as technical means but also as tools to reveal the

Portrait of Jeanette No 3

layered meanings and feelings that give a true portrait its

acrylic, gouache, pastel and charcoal on paper 174 x 139 cm

artist and sitter and the time passed over the course of a

impact. For him the intensity of the relationship between portrait needs to be incorporated into the finished image. I say finished because I believe that Fairbairn’s practice of producing a number of images of the sitter indicates that for him the portrait will always remain a work in progress. Portrait of Jeanette No.3 is direct in its pictorial honesty as seen particularly in the rawness of the artist’s use of line and his capacity to use line to simultaneously provide formal analysis of the sitter and psychological expression of that person. His limited palette range adds to the strength of his image and the expression of internalised Angst calls to mind the drama of Alberto Giacometti’s exercises in Existential portraiture. Fairbairn’s fascination with the human figure has a strong lineage in art history. The examples of Cézanne and Picasso alongside the aforementioned Giacometti seem to me especially moot in any discussion of David Fairbairn.

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MARTIN COYTE 2007 Martin Coyte was born in 1953 in Orange, New South Wales. He studied at the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney (1973), the National Art School (1974) and the (then) Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education (1976-1979), also in Sydney. His awards include the New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship (1979), the Dyson Bequest (1981), the Moya Dyring Studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (1982), and a Residency at Mitchell College in Bathurst (1985). Coyte was also commissioned to produce an artwork for the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre in 1999. He has exhibited regularly in solo and group shows since 1974 in regional New South Wales, Sydney, Canberra, London, Paris and Melbourne. The Orange Regional Gallery and the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery have featured Coyte’s work on a number of occasions and Bathurst held a major survey in 2005. His work is in a number of public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Australian National University Art Collection, the Orange Regional Gallery and the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery. He lives and works at Borenore near Orange in the New South Wales Central West. Snow Zephyr is a painting whose meaning lies within the viewer who participates in the slowly revelatory

Snow Zephyr

process of entering a visual and philosophical dialogue

oil on canvas 174 x 150 cm

the natural world but also of the spiritual element that is

with the work. It is a mysterious picture that speaks of part of man’s relationship with nature. Coyte uses a soft palette of (mostly) greys that is animated by the swirling white and black gestural marks that are dispersed across the picture plane. The white marks produce an inward spatial movement that moves in a stately spiral towards the left-hand edge of the canvas. The marks could be read as the snow of the title and indeed the gentle floating motion of these across the pictorial surface places the viewer in the painting and thus an active participant in the painterly activity. There is too the inference that we are viewing something unstated through a veil or mist. The notion of a sense of distance between viewer and artwork and artist and viewer is also intimated. Coyte once said that his art is about going “over the horizon to explore something that you don’t know”, an eloquent introduction to Snow Zephyr.

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Back Paddock acrylic and pokerwork on plywood 120 x 140 cm

WENDY TEAKEL (CO-WINNER) 2008 Wendy Teakel was born in 1957 and grew up in the Riverina

Back Paddock is a powerful example of Teakel’s continuing

in New South Wales. In 1979 she completed a Diploma in

interest in the contradictory character of the Australian

Art (Sculpture) at the (then) Riverina College of Advanced

landscape as a site of permanence yet a site of fragility

Education in Wagga Wagga. She did a Postgraduate

and ephemeral qualities. For her the land is in a state of

Diploma in Sculpture at the Canberra School of Art

continual flux, marked by human and animal interaction.

(1985) and also completed an MA from RMIT University in

The ochre background is superimposed with a network of

Melbourne in 2004. She has taught at the (now) ANU School

black lines bearing a strong resemblance to the barbed

of Art since completing postgraduate work there and in 2008

wire fences that enclose and announce ownership in the

was made Head of the Sculpture Workshop, a position she

rural landscape. The placement of the lines above the

held until her retirement in 2017. Her many awards include

background produces an aerial viewpoint as well as a

the inaugural CAPO Fellowship (1993), the Alice Prize (1995),

feeling that the viewer is intruding. Within the background

an artsACT Creative ARTs Fellowship (1996), Sovereign Asian

gestural swathes and groups of linear and other marks speak

Art Prize (2009) and the Country Energy Art Prize (2010). She

of the imposition of man onto the landscape and the natural

has a substantial exhibition profile exhibiting regularly since

order. Teakel does not adopt a singular viewpoint but allows

the early 1990s in group and solo shows in Australia. She also

a range of ways of seeing that subvert any idea that the

has established a considerable presence in Southeast Asia,

hegemony of single ownership corresponds to reality. This

gaining Asialink residencies to Thailand in 1996 and 2001. Her

subtle formal infusion quietly acknowledges indigenous rights

work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia,

to the land of which they see themselves as custodians and

Artbank, Canberra Museum and Gallery, the Australian

points to the continuing power of art as social and political

National University Art Collection, Chiang Mai University

commentary. Back Paddock is a powerful and enigmatic

(Thailand), the Australian Embassy in Bangkok and various

work that expresses a number of truths in the artist’s

regional galleries. She lives and works in Murrumbateman

individual and highly resolved visual language.

outside Canberra.

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LORNA CRANE (CO-WINNER) 2008 Lorna Crane studied at the University of Wollongong from 1982 to 1986. She gained an Associate Diploma of Creative Arts and a Bachelor of Creative Arts. Crane has always been an active participant in the arts community of wherever she is living. This involves not only making art but teaching. Most recently (since 2015) this has taken the form of teaching brush making, a particular obsession that sees her making her own brushes, sourcing materials from the natural environment and from the remains of human activity. She has run workshops at Kiama Art Workshops, New South Wales; Maryborough, Queensland; Fibre Arts Australia, Ballarat; and Woodlawn, Lismore. She was awarded the Illawarra Art Prize (1984), and a prestigious Churchill Fellowship (2002) to research community arts and mental health. She has had many residencies including with the Bundanon Trust in New South Wales, the Broken Hill Art Exchange, the Art Print Residence in Barcelona (2016), and at Bull Bay, North Bruny Island, Tasmania. She has held numerous solo and group exhibitions since graduating, most recently at Gataker’s Artspace, Maryborough; The Wall, Ulladulla; Percolator Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane; and West End Art Space in Melbourne. Her work is in the collection of the Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs, the Bundanon Trust Collection as well the collection of the Illawarra Art Prize. Crane lives and works in Pambula on the New South Wales far South Coast. Full Moon and Still Life sees the artist using a range of media, a technique with which she is very comfortable. Much of her work is concerned with the personal narratives that constitute daily life. This does not mean that she is interested in chronicling places and events but that she expresses her inner feelings and memories of her experiential life. Her pictorial vocabulary is chiefly abstract but as with much abstraction its source lies in reality. For Crane this means that although shapes, gestures, marks,etcetera may carry familial resemblance to quotidian objects that resemblance is slight. The relationships within the spatial configuration of the work between her formal morphologies are more important than attempts at seeking superficial similarities. In Full Moon and Still Life the artist cues viewers

Full Moon and Still Life

into the work through her choice of title. Viewers have a starting point

acrylic on board 180 x 181 cm (diptych) [detail]

and adapt their own expectations to begin their journey through the painting. The diptych format works very well. The accumulated forms/objects shift from one panel to the next in the gently configured pictorial space. The soft, muted palette is especially apposite in delivering an atmosphere of quiet domesticity. Veils of white add layered interest to the space while intimating depth through the presence of the barely concealed forms beneath them. Crane plays with viewpoint to further distance her subject from any real place. For her while place instigates imaginative creation it is her inner reactions, feelings and memories about her subject that she expresses in her art.

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Rain Break oil on canvas 101.5 x 105.5 cm

ROWEN MATTHEWS 2009 Rowen Matthews was for many years a secondary school

Cataract River just outside Launceston in Tasmania in 2008.

art teacher but following a successful solo exhibition at

He said of his time there that he “enjoyed the dramatic

Armidale’s New England Art Museum in 2000 he has devoted

weather and dark drama of the place”. Those sentiments

himself to his painting practice. In 2012 he was granted an

are powerfully visualised in Rain Break. Matthews’ words

Australian Postgraduate Award to study for a PhD in studio

prompt associations with the work of the great English

practice at the University of New England. Dr Matthews

Romantics of the 19th-century. I am thinking of Wordsworth,

has won a number of awards and prizes including The

Coleridge, Turner and Constable in particular. I wrote

Blackheath Art Prize (2012), a Highly Commended in the

elsewhere of the reference to poets that “the Romantic

Countryscape Prize (2011) and the Central West Regional

poets…gave prominence to the desirability of creating

Artists Award (2012), and has been a finalist in the Country

artworks whose essence lay in producing the sensation of

Energy Art Prize (2008), the John Leslie Art Prize (2010), the

the motif rather than a realistic description, or in painting,

Rick Amor Drawing Prize (2011), the Mosman Art Prize (2011)

likeness of, that motif”. For Matthews the natural motif (here

and the New South Wales Parliament House Plein Air Painting

Cataract Gorge) is subject to external forces (such as the

Prize (2011, 2013, 2017). Matthews exhibits regularly in solo

weather) and internal forces (unseen but unknown) and it is

and group shows. Recent examples include exhibitions at

the activity and action of this that he makes us witness to in

the New England Art Museum (2015), the Day Gallery in

this painting. For him the celebration of the actuality of the

Blackheath (2017) and the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

act of painting enables us to experience (albeit vicariously)

(2017). His work is held in regional and private collections in

what he experienced when confronting the natural drama

Australia, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the

of his subject. His painted surface is thick and palpable, the

United States. He currently lives and works in Hundle in the

paint itself an ingredient that has as much life as the subject

north-west of the New England region of New South Wales.

it is used to express. For him the place that prompted his

Rain Break is one of a series of works made during a residency the artist had at the King’s Bridge Cottage on the

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imaginative impulse is rediscovered in the act of painting.


Park View acrylic on linen 122 x 152 cm

CLAIRE MARTIN 2010 Claire Martin is a Newcastle-based artist with a substantial

The park is broken by the tree trunks. Their foliage while

local reputation. She exhibits with Gallery 139 in the

visually absent is present in the shadows that fall across and

Newcastle suburb of Hamilton, and has been in group

over the grass. The white strip of the path and the fence

exhibitions at the S.H.Ervin Gallery in Sydney (2012) and

beside it closes off the park from the top of the painting.

the Maitland Regional Art Gallery (2012). She is represented in

Here the bright blue of the sea is paired with the lighter

the Newcastle Art Gallery collection and was in the exhibition

blue of the sky to form the background of the image. More

Grisaille: Shades of grey held in that Gallery early in 2018.

trees populate the spatial band directly behind the fence,

Park View demonstrates the artist’s considerable skill with its beautiful use of chiaroscuro to evoke place and mood. She has selected an unusual viewpoint given her titular subject‑matter viz. the sea view from the park. The majority of the picture plane is filled with the grassed area of the park that adjoins the path that runs along the cliff edge

their scraggly branches and fluffy foliage a contrast to the horizontal sweep of sea and sky. The large swathe of green (the park) occupies almost three quarters of the total picture plane and dominates the overall composition both with its colour and the nuanced chiaroscuro referred to above. This is less landscape than exemplary lesson in tonal painting.

overlooking the ocean at Point Lonsdale in Victoria.

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Landscape 2010 No. VIII oil on canvas 200 x 180 cm

PETER GARDINER 2011

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Peter Gardiner was born in 1965 and studied painting at

Landscape 2010, No.VIII is the artist’s paean to the paintings

the University of Newcastle where he graduated with a

of El Greco (1541 – 1614), the great (Cretan-born) Spanish

High Distinction in 1990. He has received numerous awards

artist whose religious-themed Mannerist works place him in

and recognition during his career including the Maitland

the forefront of Western art history. Gardiner’s landscape is

Art Prize (2003), the Muswellbrook Art Prize (2006) and the

dark and harbours a sense of foreboding. His use of a palette

Kilgour Prize (2016). He has been a finalist in the Wynne

of cold, bluish greys is particularly effective in conveying

Prize, the Sulman Prize, the Dobell Drawing Prize and the

the gloomy atmosphere his thematic concerns demand.

Mosman Art Prize. IN 2009/2010 he was the recipient of

The ominous clouds are hit by a harsh white light that

the Australia Council Barcelona studio in Spain. Gardiner

underscores their looming presence. Gardiner’s brushwork

has an extensive exhibition history that includes shows in

is also an extremely potent tool. The surface is energised by

China and numerous solo and group exhibitions in Sydney

the almost frenzied painterly impositions the artist adopts,

and Newcastle. He is represented in the collections of the

pulling and pushing the paint across the surface to create

Newcastle Regional Gallery, the University of Technology,

marks that reflect not just his making but also the emotional

Sydney, Deakin University, Newcastle University, Muswellbrook

fervour he puts into the expression of his subject. While this

Regional Gallery, Gippsland Regional Galley, the Macquarie

is a (literally) dark painting it holds a powerful beauty and

Bank Collection and Artbank, as well as numerous private

its message, a salutary warning about the impact of man

collections. He lives and works in Newcastle.

on the environment.

THE CALLEEN COLLECTION


Glyphs: Tree of Life watercolour and graphite on colombe paper 100 x 108 cm

G. W. BOT 2012 G.W.Bot is the exhibiting name of Chrissy Grishin and refers

the tumultuous terrains that exist between culture and nature,

to the le grand Wam Bot, an early French reference to the

between humanity and the natural environment. The glyphs

wombat. It is for the artist a personal totem that confirms her

that populate this work offer a rich and enriching visual field

unity with the environment. Bot is a printmaker, painter, sculptor

whose varieties and depth symbolise (unstated) equivalents

and graphic artist who has exhibited extensively nationally

in the natural world. The glyphs are presented in an orderly

and internationally. She has held over 40 solo exhibitions

fashion, like script on a page. This is especially so in the larger

including shows in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, London,

white glyphs that sit in horizontal bands behind the central tree

Paris, New York and Los Angeles. She has also participated

glyph before falling into the gloriously blue ground on which

in over 200 group and invited exhibitions and is the recipient

all the pictorial activity takes place. The Tree of Life is solid and

of numerous awards and residencies in Europe, Asia and

grounded, its branches move upwards in controlled gestural

Australia. Her work is held in over 100 public art collections

sweeps that are at once eloquent and elegant. It is both

nationally and internationally. Bot lives and works in Canberra.

controller and controlled - the former in its pictorial majesty,

Bot’s art has for some years used what she refers to as glyphs as the language of her landscape. She says of them that “glyphs constitute a language suggested by the markings found in the Australian landscape�. This unique pictorial language sourced from nature is acknowledgement of the natural environment and its impact on her creative imagination. Glyph: Tree of Life is a beautifully nuanced work. Bot avers the central importance of art in its role as a tool for contemplation and meditation, a means of placing the self in

the latter in its identity and placement by the artist. The top points to the glowing moon (or sun?) whose fierce tonal authority and circular format draws the viewer to it. The glyphs towards the top of the picture plane diminish in size and in this describe the marvellously deep space in which all the activity takes place. In Glyphs: Tree of Life, as in all her art, Bot explores the relationship between self and nature, and in particular her interactions with place and the wider landscape. Her art embodies the essential need for man to be at one with nature in a visual language that is beautiful, embracing and incisive.

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Anwekety (Bush plum) acrylic on linen, 182 x 120 cm

GLADDY KEMARRE 2013 Gladdy Kemarre was born around 1950 on the Mount Swan

Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia, the

Station in the Harts Range (Atitjera) region of the Northern

Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, the Museum and Art Gallery of

Territory. With her sister (Ally Kemarre) and brother (Billy Benn

the Northern Territory and the Monash University Collection,

Perrule) she grew up learning the traditions of the Anmatyerre

Melbourne. She died in Alice Springs in 2016.

people, including learning to paint through the designs on the body used for ceremonial purposes. Kemarre was a member of the Utopia Women’s Batik Group in the late 1970s, and was included in the important exhibitions A Picture Story (1980) and A Summer Project (1989), that were instrumental in bringing the art of Utopia to the world. The artist has exhibited widely in Australia and Europe. She was a finalist in many prizes including the Wynne Prize (2009), the King’s School Art Prize (2010), the Stanthorpe Art Prize (2008), the Albany Art Prize (2012), the Waterhouse Natural History Prize (2011) and the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize (2011. Her work is in many collections including Artbank, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the National

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Anwekety (Bush Plum) is the artist’s interpretation of the Bush Plum Dreaming, the Dreaming of her patrilineal country, Ahalpere. A statement accompanying the painting reads: “Anwekety, the bush plum, is a Dreaming story given to Gladdy by her Grandmother. Viewed from above, the changing seasonal colours of the anwekety dominate the flora on the ground in Ahalpere country. Gladdy’s shimmering and sweeping expanses of fine dots, transposed over a dark field create a rich and vertiginous image of desert terrain. The joyful rhythms of the canvas reflect Gladdy’s pride in passing down the story of the bush plum, just as her grandmother did before her”.


End of Day oil on canvas, 112 x 183 cm

NAOMI WHITE 2014 Naomi White is a self-taught artist who has been exhibiting

is almost scientific but there is no objective distancing

regularly since 2002. She has been a finalist in numerous

here. The artist’s connection with her subject is clear. This

prizes including the Elaine Birmingham National Watercolour

is a place visited, observed and loved. The low viewpoint

Prize (2017), the Tattersall’s Art Prize (2016), the John Leslie Art

adopted by the artist begins the viewers’ journey into and

Prize (2016), the Mosman Art Prize (2015), the Fleurieu Art Prize

through the composition. The slight diagonal of a row of

(2013), the Paddington Art Prize (2010) and the Wynne Prize

grasses leads up and over the dune, across it to the trees to

(2008). She has held solo exhibitions at Flinders Lane Gallery

the clump of coastal trees and finally to the azure blue of

in Melbourne (2016, 2015, 2013), Charles Hewitt Gallery,

the sky. The latter beautifully captures the special light that

Sydney (2011), Libby Edwards Gallery, Sydney (2009, 2008,

is uniquely Australian. White’s beach is empty of people.

2007) and Metropolis Gallery, Melbourne (2003). White lives

In an artist’s statement she says: “Empty beaches are my

and works in Brisbane.

favourite…..you can sit and let your thoughts slowly come

End of Day is a celebratory work exhorting the attraction of the beach. The foreground is occupied by a low sand dune dotted with meticulously observed grasses that creep

to the surface with just the sound of the waves. I hope this painting gives you that sense. Just take a moment to breathe and be calm before you move out into life again”.

over the crown of the dune. The detailed depiction of the grass and indeed of all the components in this painting

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Pathway, Namsan Park acrylic on canvas 130 x 162 cm

YVONNE BOAG 2015 Yvonne Boag was born in Scotland in 1954 and migrated

Australia, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Scotland, Artbank, LaTrobe

with her family to Adelaide when she was 10 years old. She

University, Monash University and Toowoomba Regional Art

received a Diploma of Art from the South Australian School of

Gallery. The artist lives and works in South Korea and Australia.

Art (1976) before studying sculpture at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (1984) and a Master of Fine Art at Monash University (2000). Boag has taught at various institutions in Australia and South Korea since 1976. In 2012 she was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the Sydney College of the Arts. She has won numerous awards and commissions including the Canberra Art Prize (2004), the Hutchens Prize (runner up), Hobart (2004), the Whyalla Santos Art Prize (2000), the Martin Hanson Memorial Art Award (1996), 100 x 100 Print Folio, Print Council of Australia (1998), Australia Council Studio, Tokyo (1997), Asialink Artist in Residence, Korea (1995) and an Artist in Residence at the Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland (1989). Boag has been exhibiting since 1980 in Australia and extensively in South Korea where she has spent 10 months of each year for almost 20 years. Her most recent Australian solo exhibition, Here and there was at the Nancy Sever Gallery in Canberra in 2016. Boag’s work is represented in a large number of public, institutional, corporate and private collections including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Geelong Art Gallery, Bendigo Art Gallery, Telecom,

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THE CALLEEN COLLECTION

Pathway, Namsan Park is a work that has emerged from the artist’s long term fascination with Korean culture. She has been absorbed in things Korean since 1993 when she won an Asialink Residency to South Korea and she has returned there annually for over 2 decades. She says that “I like fnding myself in an unusual place or a different place that I don’t understand at all because I am forced to make new pathways to understand it”. Boag’s work is a response to her immediate environment, an environment that takes in the city, the landscape, the people, the sounds and the language of a country that although more than familiar to her still finds her seeing herself as a familiar stranger. There is an intuitive quality to her work manifest in the rhythmical surface and the relationships between the forms and colours that energise that surface. Boag says of this painting ‘When I was working in Paris I was using Western colour, realistic colours that look like nature. But when I went to Korea, suddenly the colour just exploded because of the colour of their clothes and even the colour of the paint you buy in shops is so different. It is not naturalistic. It is quite an unreal colour. Colour to me is quite emotive, which is more like the Korean approach where each colour is symbolic”.


TANIA MASON 2016 Tania Mason was born in 1973 and studied at the National Art school in Sydney earning an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts (1997) and a BA (Fine Arts) in 2001. She won numerous awards including the Blackfriars Acquisitive Art Prize, Albury Regional Gallery (2004), a Hill End Residency (2006, 2009), Artist in Residence at the Bundanon Trust (2008, 2013, 2014),and a New Work Grant from the Australia Council (2007). She has been exhibiting regularly since 2001 and has shown in Australia, France, Belgium. Mason currently lives and works in Sydney. Irregular Plasma is an intriguing work that comes out of the artist’s research into her son’s neurological condition. There is a jewel-like character in the clumps of exotic creatures that float over the canvas perhaps because of the bright blues and purples of the lush palette. The creatures appear to be reaching out to one another and exude a lifelike quality that is at once disturbing and attractive. Mason writes that “My son has a mild neurological condition that I have been studying over the years. This is a painting concerned with the chaos and the beauty of his mind. The work title Irregular

Irregular Plasma gouache and acrylic on canvas 100 x 82 cm

Plasma exemplifies how fauna is also a survivor, how she has parallel survival instincts just like the human brain, especially when impacted upon. The concepts of this new work explore: Neurological patterns within the human brain; The pathway formations within the human mind; Natures (sic) complex geometric shapes such as vines, plants, trees and leaves. I aim to reveal gentle ways of viewing matter we cannot see and to create imagery that explains riddles within nature”.

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ZAI KUANG 2017 Zai Kuang was born in China in 1962 and studied Fine Art at the Academy of Art and Design, Tsinghua University where he received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Since his arrival in Australia he received a Master’s (by research) from Monash University, Melbourne. Zai has had over 20 years teaching at university in China and in Australia. Currently he teaches at the Xiao Yu Art Studio in Clayton, Melbourne. He has been a finalist in the Doug Moran Portrait Prize, the Archibald Prize, the Sulman Prize, the Fleurieu Art Prize, the Albany Art Prize, the Willoughby Art Prize and many others in Australia. In China he was a finalist in the National Young Artist Exhibition, the 8th National Art Exhibition, the 2nd National Still Life Exhibition and the National Sport Exhibition. Zai Kuang has participated in over 50 solo and group exhibitions and his work is in the BHP Billiton Collection, the Monash University Art Collection, the Macquarie University Collection and private collections nationally and internationally. The artist lives and works in Melbourne. Audery reveals the artist’s extraordinary technical skill. This is seen particularly in his treatment of the bed linen and the child’s pyjamas. The long narrow format of the painting is perhaps a nod to the Chinese scrolls of his cultural heritage. Here it creates a feeling of compressed space, a feeling echoed by the placement of the bed pushed against the corner of the room. There is a pleasantness in the palette of greys, blues and pink and this dissipates the psychological awkwardness of the child’s pose. Ken Smith, former Lecturer at Monash University says of Zai Kuang that “ the human figures that are within (his) paintings are usually solitary and they are often children within an interior space and associated with objects of play..…Zai Kuang approaches his images of children with a tender sympathy. He hints at their inner life but does not attempt to prescribe this. …Zai Kuang is fascinated by visual phenomena, the colour of skin, the folds of fabric, and how light moves across these forms and both reveals and disguises them….. Zai Kuang attempts to make pictorial compositions of clarity and authority that contain in their totality the poetry that

Audery oil on canvas 180 x 90 cm

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THE CALLEEN COLLECTION

he experiences in looking fondly at the world around him”.


BRIAN ROBINSON 2018 the National Works on Paper Award (2016), the Sunshine Coast Art Prize (2015), Western Australia Indigenous Art Award (2014), the Blake Prize for Religious Art (2011) and the Sheridan Mirage Port Douglas Art Prize (2008). In 1999 he was named as the Ten Queensland, Young Achiever of the Year (2000) for Regional Queensland. In 2018 Robinson was awarded a commission for the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Parade Track Project Warwar Opening Ceremony. Since 2006 Robinson has held over 20 solo exhibitions throughout Australia and in Malaysia and Singapore. His extensive participation in group shows since 1994 has seen his work exhibited not only in Australia but also in New York, Washington, Berlin, Noumea and Monaco. His work is in many collections including the National Gallery of Australia; the Australian War Memorial; most State galleries; the Parliament House Collection, Canberra; and many regional, university and corporate collections in Australia and overseas. Sowing the crops and reaping the stars is a visually rich and culturally layered painting. Robinson’s Torres Strait Islander heritage figures prominently in his art and its elision with his experience of contemporary popular culture, Western art practices and the importance of place, in combination form a unique and powerful aesthetic expression. The strong graphic elements that populate this work speak formally

Sowing the Crops and Reading the Stars enamel spray paint, liquitex paint marker 152 x 122 cm

of the artist’s training as a printmaker and also underpin the narrative character of this and much of his work. The narrative is however not a linear one but rather a mélange of experiential influences that incorporates a range of identities

Brian Robinson was born in 1973 on Waiben (Thursday Island)

and cultures that characterise Robinson’s pictorial language.

in the Torres Strait and is a descendant of the Maluyigal/

The richly patterned background cites the lush vegetation

Wuthathi/Dayak peoples. He received an Associate Diploma

of the artist’s original home as well as pointing to traditional

of Visual Arts (1994) and an Advanced Certificate in Visual

Island gardening practices. The repetition of the floral

Arts (1995) from the Cairns Campus of TAFE Queensland.

pattern aligned with the circular motifs alludes to the cyclical

From 1991 to 2010 he was employed in various capacities at

rhythms of nature and their concomitant agricultural cycles.

the Cairns Regional Gallery, his last position being Exhibitions

The figure of the powerfully-muscled gardener is beautifully

Manager/Deputy Director. From 2010 to the present he has

achieved in its graphic outline. While he ostensibly sits apart

worked as a professional artist. Robinson’s distinguished

from the floral ground he is also an integral part of that

artistic career has seen him as a finalist or winner of many

ground and in that personifies the ongoing influence of the

awards, prizes and commissions. These include the Collie

land in giving reality to notions of cultural and artistic identity.

Art Prize (2018), the Mandorla Art Award (2018), the Geelong

Sowing the crops and reaping the stars is a complex work in

Acquisitive Print Awards (2017), the Hazelhurst National Art

which cultural traditions are acknowledged and expressed

on Paper Awards (2017), the Fremantle Print Award (2016),

in a considered and resolved contemporary visual voice.

40 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

69


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Cowra Regional Art Gallery is very proud to present this publication about the Calleen Collection. This publication would not be possible without the generous support and assistance of the Calleen Trust, through trustees Jenni and Peter Fagan. The passion for the arts that both Jenni and Peter demonstrate is an ongoing tribute to Patricia Fagan OAM, the founder of the Calleen Trust. Cowra Regional Art Gallery Director, Brian Langer, has been enthusiastic about the project. His contribution to the development of the publication has been significant. Effy Alexakis photography of the winning works is a major contribution to the quality of the publication. The critical biographies and history of the Calleen Collection were researched and written by Peter Haynes, Curator, Arts Writer, Art Historian, Arts and Heritage Advisor, who played a vital role in the production of the publication. Tim Böhm and the 2B design team managed the design and production of the publication. Peter Haynes would like to especially thank Jenni and Peter Fagan for their enthusiastic embracing of his suggestion to produce the publication on the collection, and for their continuing generosity and support. He would like to acknowledge the judges and artists who have contributed to the ongoing excellence of the Calleen Art Award. The high quality of the publication reflects this and the professionalism of the 2B team. Peter would also like to personally acknowledge his partner, John Lewis, for his forbearance and patience during the course of this project.

COWRA REGIONAL ART GALLERY 77 Darling Street Cowra NSW 2794 www.cowraartgallery.com.au


Profile for 2B Published

The Calleen Collection: Cowra Regional Art Gallery  

"This timely publication is a unique opportunity to explore the development of the Calleen Collection and celebrate the life of its founder...

The Calleen Collection: Cowra Regional Art Gallery  

"This timely publication is a unique opportunity to explore the development of the Calleen Collection and celebrate the life of its founder...

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