In The Spotlight…Charles Conder

CHARLES CONDER, Miss Raynor c.1889, 
oil on canvas on cardboard, 16 x 16 cm

This small, rapidly painted sketch belongs to Conder’s Melbourne years (1888-90) and is typical of his en plein air style. This was a style, developed in the ateliers of Paris and in the summer painting ‘camps’ of rural France in the 1870s that involved the artist capturing and holding the essence of the moment and the scene as he or she stood in front of it. The first marks put onto the canvas were to be the only ones: nothing was to be altered or worked over later, back in the studio. The heart of plein air painting was truth to the moment of vision. Stylistically it was characterised by clarity of vision, an understanding of technique and  poetic response to the moment.

Subject is thus everything and nothing. Miss Raynor, the principal female figure in this sketch is essential for the articulation of the work but only as a form to set against other forms – the heavy cypress tree behind her, the post and rail fence, the smoothness of the gold greens and brown of the paddock in which she stands. Her everyday dress adds to the prosaic note of the sketch, the drab attire enlivened by a few touches of red on the unfurled umbrella at her side.  Behind her stands a second female form, painted even more ethereally in relation to the raking light that falls from left to right across the picture plane and is even less identifiable.

‘Mrs (sic) Raynor was a student friend of Conder and was sketched by him during a picnic outing in Melbourne during his stay there (1889)’. She seems to have modelled for Conder on other occasions. Another study of her, an oil on cedar panel, in which she wears a  rather more elaborate costume and is seated on a river bank, is to be found in the Joseph Brown Collection.

                    Ann Galbally, 
Extract LDFA Annual Collectors’ Exhibition Catalogue 2000

Charles Conder is acknowledged as one of Australia’s most talented artists and is widely recognised in collections by all major Australian public galleries as well as international public galleries. 

Further information:
Charles Conder, Miss Raynor
Charles Conder, Biography
Charles Conder, artworks in the stockroom

Read other – In The Spotlight

A Closer Look At… John Dent large-scale paintings

This is the final week to view our current exhibition John Dent: Between Two Countries and we invite you to take A Closer Look At… John Dent’s larger paintings in the exhibition.

The subject matter of the larger paintings crosses a broad range: landscapes; interiors; figures; still lifes – all themes with a long tradition in the history of art. Dent takes inspiration from his own experiences, from the mundane of a Hills Hoist in the backyard of an inner city Melbourne suburb; to the more exotic, a studio in Mallorca; to the macabre, the soft colour palette of the seminal triptych, Natura Morta- Marta belies the rather uncompromising subject. Dent is able to raise elements from their everyday existence to the distinction of art, particularly highlighted in these paintings where familiar objects are lifted through their presentation on a grand scale. However the real subject matter is often the very act of painting itself, the placement of elements, of form and colour on the canvas. 

To tak A Closer Look At… John Dent’s larger-scale paintings, please click here.

Exhibition showing until Friday 25 June. Visit our website to view images, watch a video of the opening, download the catalogue and read the Closer Look At… essay.

A Closer Look At… John Dent in Paris

In our next A Closer Look At… we examine the paintings of Paris by John Dent which are redolent with atmosphere, indicative of his ability to absorb the sense of place he discovered there. Mostly, these are quiet introspective moments, a captured snapshot in time. The street scenes take the viewer on a promenade with the artist around Paris, as he explores the city. If the imagery is sometimes romantic, it is because this reflects the everyday reality of the city and these are scenes actually encountered – an arched bridge over the river; a flag hanging from a terraced building; lovers entwined in a park. Equally, Paris is a city of unexpected surprises and strange contrasts, casual witness to nuns in full habit kicking a soccer ball. At other times the subject is almost mundane, a woman with a striped apron in her window; or tinged with humour, the upright nanny on duty with her sensible umbrella shading her from the sun contrasted with the lounging figure enjoying a drink on the deckchair.


John Dent Les Bénédictines du Sacré-Coeur oil on canvas 71 x 56 cm

The significance of Paris and its art scene has been a major influence for many artists throughout history and has certainly shaped Dent’s oeuvre, evident in many aspects but essentially in the very real French atmosphere captured in these paintings. To take A Closer Look At… John Dent in Paris click here


John Dent The Nanny oil on canvas 40.5 x 35.5 cm

To view images in the exhibition; watch the video of the opening and read our Closer Look At… essays please visit our website.

RECONCILIATION WEEK

As RECONCILIATION WEEK draws to a close I enjoyed watching the AFL match last night for the Dreamtime Round. It’s great to see indigenous recognition and reconciliation in all forms and in many industries. 

This years theme is MORE THAN A WORD, RECONCILIATION TAKES ACTION, urging the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

At Lauraine Diggins Fine Art we have been welcomed into the artistic community at Utopia. As strong supporters of the artists from this beautiful area, Lauraine and Gallery staff have travelled often to spend time working with Emily Kam Kngwarray, the Ngal sisters (Kathleen, Poly and Angelina – and extended family) from Camel Camp; Cowboy Loy Pwerl, Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarray and Genevieve Kemarr Loy from Iylenty (Mosquito Bore); and with the Morton sisters from Rocket Range. We have benefited from the generosity of the community and learnt about and participated in cultural activities of the community.

The Gallery actively promotes the artists of Utopia, who in connection to their land share their cultural knowledge and stories with the wider world through their art. 

Gaining appreciation for and recognizing the importance of Indigenous art promotes Indigenous people and their culture and is part of the process of building stronger relationships as a Nation.

In her landmark 1989 Indigenous catalogue Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art: A Myriad of Dreaming Lauraine introduced artists of the calibre of Rover Thomas and Lin Onus. The Gallery further brought artists to international attention through art fairs in Paris and Moscow; participated in collaborative exhibitions both in Australia and worldwide, in particular taking Emily to exhibit in Hong Kong and China at the legendary China Club, Hong Kong in the early 1990s; and showcased Emily’s monumental Earths Creation in a stunning 1998 exhibition Earth’s Creation: The Paintings of Emily Kame Kngwarreye; the Gallery further brought gallery represented indigenous artists and their art to recognition at art prizes in which Angelina, Kathleen and Elizabeth have been finalists in the Wynne Art Prize; Cowboy and Genevieve in the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize; Elizabeth and Genevieve in the Churchie Emerging Art Prize; Angelina, Cowboy, Elizabeth and Genevieve in the Blake Art Prize; Elizabeth and Genevieve in the The Alice Prize; Genevieve in the Fleurieu, among others. Lauraine was instrumental in the international fashion house Hermès commissioning Gloria Petyarr to create a design for their famous scarves.

The Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, is an annual prize that was launched in 2017 to advance art and opportunity for emerging and established female artists in Australia. It is the highest value professional artist prize for women in Australia and Genevieve succeeded in being a finalist in 2020.
As stated on their website, although up to 70% of art school graduates are female, less than half of represented artists in exhibitions and prizes around Australia are female, with State museums showing 34% of female artists amongst their collections. This is something many galleries are continuing to address. The Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize provides a platform to promote female visual artists, assisting in career development, providing opportunities for greater connections.


Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy AO
to Genevieve Kemarr Loy and Lorraine Kabbindi White
at the Next Generation exhibition 2017

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art continues to commit support by profiling Indigenous artists and their art, support accountability towards Indigenous people and the ethical sale of art. We further achieve this as members of the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia.
If you would like to take a step towards reconciliation, visit an Indigenous art exhibition, or have a look at these suggestions by Reconciliation Australia https://nrw.reconciliation.org.au/actions-for-reconciliation/

A Closer Look At… John Dent Still Life Paintings

In our series of A Closer Look At… essays, we examine an aspect of current exhibited artworks. In the first of these for John Dent: Between Two Countries, we further consider the intriguing still life paintings where a range of commonplace objects are carefully placed in juxtaposition to each other and the space between them, to hint at a narrative beyond the ordinary.

These are elegant paintings, where every object has been deliberately considered and heightened by the use of texture and skilful use of colour, which is both rich yet subtle. In his opening remarks, LDFA Director Michael Blanche referred to Dent’s still paintings as “semi-abstracted displaced objects”, seeing links to artists including Giorgio Morandi; Lucio Fontana; Pierre Bonnard; Edouard Vuillard and to one of John’s key mentors, George Baldessin.

Take A Closer Look At… John Dent Still Life Paintings here, particularly, whilst the Gallery is closed due to current Victorian Covid restrictions. Images can also be viewed online and please contact us via email with any queries ausart@diggins.com.au. The exhibition has been extended to 25th June and we hope to welcome you soon (at this stage from 11 June).

JOHN DENT : Exhibition Opening at LDFA Sat 15 May 2021 at 2pm

John Dent: Between Two Countries featuring 50 paintings from the earlier years of his ongoing career, painted in both Australia and France. A rare opportunity to view the collection together on a scale not seen since Dent’s retrospective at Castlemaine Art Gallery in 1994. Subjects range from intriguing and elegant still lifes; atmospheric interiors and figurative works; and streetscapes of Paris, with its everyday realities and unexpected surprises. A range of subjects and scales but unmistakably Dent’s lyrical and complex compositions and multifaceted muted colour palette.

The exhibition is showing until 11 June and a colour illustrated catalogue can be downloaded from our website.

PETER CHURCHER: THE FIRST DECADE

Join us in the exhibitions final week, where you have a rare opportunity to view and purchase a selection of artworks from Churcher’s impressive first decade of his career, which examines the beginning and following the growth and establishment of his career as an artist. Churcher’s artistic concern from the outset was the human figure and the human condition. Churcher’s paintings are a faithful representation of their subject. There is an element of truth-seeking and honesty. A rawness in using people he simply met in the street rather than professional models strengthened this element and appealed to an artist schooled in the European masters in the tradition of Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velazquez and Van Gogh who also elevated ordinary people and objects as art.

Peter Churcher : ” In the Studio”

In 2005, Creative Cowboy filmed Peter Churcher in his studio. Spend 15 minutes with the artist as he places his models and concentrates on capturing them in paint An intimate view of the studio and a fascinating insight into the artist at work.

https://www.creativecowboyfilms.com/blog_posts/an-earlier-portrait-in-prahran-2005

The exhibition of Peter’s early paintings, from the first decade of his career, are on view at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art until 20 April – (closed over Easter).

Preview the exhibition on our website and download the illustrated catalogue.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Dianne Coulter

This striking lifesize figure by Dianne Coulter was awarded the inaugural Blake Prize for Human Justice in 2009 where it was acclaimed as follows: “Cousin Elizabeth NT, is a powerful work amongst many outstanding creations, all helping us to understand our humanity with greater clarity.”

Of her winning entry, Dianne said “I have dressed her immaculately in natural fibre: wool for the lamb, cotton for Egypt that gave sanctuary, pregnant for hope, carrying a loaf of white bread for nourishment – alluding to Christ. Or is she just a frightened, disenfranchised young girl with a lousy loaf of dubious quality bread caught drinking at the wrong watering hole?”

Read more about the artwork here.

See more artworks by Dianne Coulter here.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: ZHOU Xiaoping

New works in our stockroom

ZHOU XIAOPING 1960 –
Untitled
ink, oil and synthetic polymer on rice paper laid on canvas
94.5 x 154 cm

One of the most intriguing contemporary artists to explore the complex yet rich creative and conceptual possibilities of cross-cultural collaboration is the Chinese Australian artist, Zhou Xiaoping.Having lived in Aboriginal communities over a sustained period of time and forged important working relationships with various senior artists, Zhou has developed an original art practice that brings together elements from Chinese, Western and Australian Aboriginal cultural traditions.

Learn more about Xiaoping here: https://www.diggins.com.au/exhibition/xiaoping-zhou/

View Xiaoping’s artworks available in our stockroom: https://www.diggins.com.au/artwork/?artistid=9187