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We Are Bell Shakespeare Shakespeare’s work explores human experience at its limits. It was never just meant to be read. We believe the only way to truly appreciate his work is to see it brought to life through live performance. We believe Shakespeare and other great works are not stuck in the past, but that they are the key to exploring our present and imagining our future. We value the beauty of Shakespeare’s ideas, language and imagery. His work becomes our lens, helping us find modern perspectives on timeless truths. His plays are not static. They’re constantly adapting, helping us make sense of who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going. And we’re not static either. We’ve been travelling the country for 25 years, bringing classic theatre to Australia, looking for new ways to educate, collaborate and recreate. Shakespeare and the other classic plays we present challenge our beliefs and urge us to see ourselves in a new light. Their ability to discover the things that make us human inspires us to make work that challenges preconceptions and encourages new interpretations and contemporary parallels – work that speaks to every age.

From the Co-Artistic Directors 25 years ago we at Bell Shakespeare began our journey to take the plays of William Shakespeare and share them with audiences in a way that was exciting and relevant to Australians. Over the years we have brought Shakespeare’s words to life in theatres, schools, community centres, retirement homes, football ovals, juvenile detention centres and rehearsal rooms across the country. When planning our 25th anniversary celebrations we kept coming back to the vast number of Australians who have experienced Shakespeare without knowing it – the vivid imagery of his fictional and historical worlds and the language he created have inspired artists of all disciplines to imagine and to create other worlds over the last 400 years. Designers, writers, film makers and composers have all taken inspiration from his extraordinary body of work, creating their own responses to it, and compelling audiences to contemplate the themes, language and human resonances through different mediums. With this as our starting point, we invited high profile Australian artists to create a painting, photograph or drawing for The Art of Shakespeare, to be publicly exhibited across the country in a celebration of our very best Australian visual artists and Shakespeare’s enduring body of work. To share this special project with our valued venue partners has also been significantly rewarding. Sofitel on Collins (Melbourne), Australian Parliament House (Canberra) and Sydney Opera House (Sydney) have assisted with extensive support and each provides an incredible backdrop for this commemoration of our 25th year. Many thanks must go to the artists participating in this exhibition. Continuing the philanthropic spirit in which Bell Shakespeare was founded, they have all been generous enough to not only take part in the exhibition, but a percentage of each sale will be donated by the artists and their galleries to Bell Shakespeare to support our outreach programmes. We are so grateful for their willingness to join us in The Art of Shakespeare.

John Bell, ao

Peter Evans

Foreword There are moments in Shakespeare that present us with an unforgettable image: Romeo and Juliet in the balcony scene. Macbeth with his dagger before him, Lear with the body of Cordelia in his arms; but we do not think of Shakespeare as an especially pictorial writer. The language he uses is too much on the move. To dense, too inward. ‘The dark backward and abysm of time’: how are we to ‘picture’ that? Only rarely does he pause for a set piece, Cleopatra in her barge, poor drowned Ophelia under the willows, before the action sweeps on. Ovid is the great verbal illustrator among poets and it was as the re-embodiment of the ‘sweet witty soul of Ovid’ that Francis Meres hailed Shakespeare in 1598. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the most ‘Ovidian’ of plays, does have its set pieces: Oberon’s ‘I know a bank where the wild thyme grows’; his description of Cupid flying ‘fully armed’ between ‘the cold moon and earth’: a certain aim he took At a fair vestal, throned by the west, And loos’d his love-shaft smartly from his bow, As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts. But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft Quench’d in the chaste beams of the wat’ry moon; And the imperial vot’ress passed on, In maiden meditation, fancy free. But neither of these is the kind of self-contained picture that Ovid makes of his Bacchus or the fall of Icarus, images so iconic that a Titian or a Breugel has only to take them, detail by detail, and set them down in paint. When Shakespeare invites us to use our mind’s eye, it is not to divert us with an independent picture but to create something essential to the action, or its atmosphere, that the stage itself cannot present. ‘Play with your fancies,’ the Chorus in Henry V urges, And in them behold Upon the hempen tackle ship-boys climbing, Hear the shrill whistle which does give order To sounds confus’d; behold the threaden sails, Borne with th’ invisible and creeping wind.’

Or more daringly when Edgar brings his father, blind Gloucester, to the non-existent cliff’s edge at Dover: Dizzy ‘tis to cast one’s eyes below. The crows and choughs that wing the mid-way air Show scarce as gross as beetles. Half-way down, Hands one that gathers samfire – dreadful trade! These are pictures, but they are not introduced for their own sake. More typical of Shakespeare is the series of ‘unrelated’ images that depicts Macbeth’s change of mood before the murder of Banquo: Come seeling night, Scarf up the tender eye of day, And with thy bloody and invisible hand Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond Which keeps me pale. Light thickens and the crow Makes wind to the rooky wood; Good things of day begin to droop and drowse, Whiles night’s black agents to their preys do rouse. This works by association, in a mode that resists representation. What interests Shakespeare is the working of the mind, an inner state. When, on the other hand, painters and illustrators turn to his characters, what they tend to present is their external attributes: Rosalind in her disguise as Ganymede, Portia in her legal robes, Richard Crookback, Hamlet in melancholy black, plump Jack Falstaff. This is sometimes in portraits of actors in their most famous roles, Garrick, Kean, Ellen Terry, famously, as Lady Macbeth; more often, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, on massproduced Doulton plates and jugs and vases, where they are so immediately recognisable that it became difficult for the general public to visualise them otherwise. This exhibition presents artists working as Shakespeare himself does, in the realm of atmosphere and suggestion. Responding not necessarily to a visual cue but to a moment in one of the plays, sometimes even to a single line, that connects with their own very personal world and style. David Malouf ao

Exhibition Details Sophie Cape I Am In Blood Stepp’d In So Far Lucy Culliton My Kingdom For A Horse (Reno) Tamara Dean A Midsummer Night’s Dreamscape Ken Done A Woman Is A Dish For The Gods Joe Furlonger Unto These Yellow Sands Peter Godwin Where Be Your Gibes Now? Nicholas Harding It’s The Same With Men (Wildflower, Cactus And Dogs) Alan Jones Leave The Rest To Me Mathew Lynn Unmannerly Breech’d With Gore (Lady Macbeth) Euan Macleod Storm/King Lear Luke Sciberras Bottom! Wendy Sharpe The Witches Garry Shead Romeo And Juliet Ann Thomson La Sonnambula Preview Sydney Opera House, 11 August Melbourne Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, 2 September – 1 October Canberra Australian Parliament House, 8– 25 October Sydney Sydney Opera House, 2–15 November All prices listed are inclusive of GST.

I Am In Blood Stepp’d In So Far

Artist: Sophie Cape

Title: I Am In Blood Stepp’d In So Far

Date: 2015

Medium: acrylic, oil, ink,soil & blood on canvas

Dimensions: 200 x 228cm

Price: $14,000

Sophie Cape is represented by Olsen Irwin Gallery

My Kingdom For A Horse (Reno)

Artist: Lucy Culliton

Title: My Kingdom For A Horse (Reno)

Date: 2015

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 130 x 130cm

Price: $24,000

Lucy Culliton is represented by The Hughes Gallery

A Midsummer Night’s Dreamscape Artist: Tamara Dean Title: A Midsummer Night’s Dreamscape

Date: 2015

Medium: pure pigment print on cotton rag Dimensions: 120.4 x 250cm

Price: $12,200

Tamara Dean is represented by Olsen Irwin Gallery

A Woman Is A Dish For The Gods

Artist: Ken Done

Title: A Woman Is A Dish For The Gods

Date: 2015

Medium: oil on linen

Dimensions: 122 x 152cm

Price: $15,000

Ken Done is represented by Ken Done Gallery

Unto These Yellow Sands

Artist: Joe Furlonger

Title: Unto These Yellow Sands

Date: 2013

Medium: acrylic bound pigment on canvas

Dimensions: 60 x 122cm

Price: $18,000

Joe Furlonger is represented by The Hughes Gallery

Where Be Your Gibes Now?

Artist: Peter Godwin

Title: Where Be Your Gibes Now? Date: 2015 Medium: oil on acrylic on linen Dimensions: 123 x 102cm

Price: $28,000

Peter Godwin is represented by Defiance Gallery

It’s The Same With Men (Wildflower, Cactus And Dogs)

Artist: Nicholas Harding

Title: It’s The Same With Men (Wildflower, Cactus And Dogs) Date: 2015 Medium: oil on linen Dimensions: 138 x 138cm

Price: $35,000

Nicholas Harding is represented by Olsen Irwin Gallery

Leave The Rest To Me

Artist: Alan Jones

Title: Leave The Rest To Me Date: 2015 Medium: oil on linen on board Dimensions: 112 x 96cm

Price: $5,500

Alan Jones is represented by Olsen Irwin Gallery

Unmannerly Breech’d With Gore (Lady Macbeth)

Artist: Mathew Lynn

Title: Unmannerly Breech’d With Gore (Lady Macbeth) Date: 2015 Medium: oil on linen Dimensions: 160 x 146cm

Price: $15,000

Mathew Lynn is an independent artist

Storm/King Lear

Artist: Euan Macleod

Title: Storm/King Lear Medium: oil on acrylic on canvas Dimensions: 100 x 124cm

Price: $19,500

Euan Macleod is represented by Watters Gallery


Artist: Luke Sciberras

Title: Bottom! Date: 2014 Medium: oil on board Dimensions: 160 x 120cm

Price: $14,000

Luke Sciberras is represented by Olsen Irwin Gallery

The Witches

Artist: Wendy Sharpe

Title: The Witches Date: 2015 Medium: oil on linen Dimensions: 160 x 146cm Price: $25,000 Wendy Sharpe is represented by King Street Gallery on William

Romeo And Juliet

Artist: Garry Shead

Title: Romeo And Juliet Date: 2015 Medium: oil on board Dimensions: 92 x 122cm

Price: $120,000

Garry Shead is represented by Australian Galleries

La Sonnambula

Artist: Ann Thomson Title: La Sonnambula

Date: 2014 Medium: acrylic on linen Dimensions: 171.5 x 90.5cm

Price: $22,000

Ann Thomson is represented by Olsen Irwin Gallery

Thank You To Our Partners LEADING PARTNERS

Regional Communities Partner


National Schools Partner

Official Wellbeing Partner


Perth Season Partner

Canberra Season Partner


Accommodation Partner

Legal Partner

Official Catering Partner Sydney

Paper Partner


Public Affairs Advisors

Community Partner

Special Event Partner

Special Event Partner

Printing Partner

Wine Partner

Digital Partner

Accomodation Partner Canberra

Restaurant Partner Sydney




CBRE EY Bell Shakespeare is supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.


Bell Shakespeare is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Bell Shakespeare Learning Initiatives 2012–2015 is supported by the Australian Government Department of Education.


sydney opera house

Melbourne Venue

With thanks to Nick Vickers (Consultant)

Canberra Venue

Sydney Venue

Level 1, 33 Playfair Street The Rocks NSW 2000 Australia PO Box 10 Millers Point NSW 2000 Australia T +61 2 8298 9000 E mail@bellshakespeare.com.au bellshakespeare.com.au Cover: Detail from The Witches, 2015 Wendy Sharpe King Street Gallery on William

Profile for Bell Shakespeare

The Art of Shakespeare 2015 catalogue  

Catalogue of Artworks for the 2015 The Art of Shakespeare Exhibition, celebrating 25 years of Bell Shakespeare, Australian visual artists an...

The Art of Shakespeare 2015 catalogue  

Catalogue of Artworks for the 2015 The Art of Shakespeare Exhibition, celebrating 25 years of Bell Shakespeare, Australian visual artists an...