A masterwork by the iconic Kimberley artist Rover Thomas has been donated to the National Museum of Australia in honour of Lauraine Diggins OAM. The large-scale painting Jabanunga depicts the Rainbow Serpent penetrating the earth following a subterranean journey in the wake of Cyclone Tracey’s destruction of Darwin.
Lauraine was a strong supporter of Indigenous art on the international stage. “During her lifetime Lauraine was determined to do whatever she could and use her considerable influence to ensure that many of the important art works created in Australia and overseas became part of the national Estate”, says Michael Blanche, Lauraine’s husband and Director of Lauraine Diggins Fine Art and an advocate for philanthropy. Michael, along with co-Director, daughter Nerida Blanche, intend on donating a series of artworks in memory of Lauraine.
Read media coverage about this important painting below:
The S.H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney recently posted this video with Director Jane Watters highlighting their holdings of artworks by Jessie Scarvell, which were gifted by her daughter. Scarvell (1862 – 1950) was an exponent of Australian Impressionism who exhibited over 60 of her plein air landscapes at the Art Society of NSW throughout the 1890s. Following her marriage in 1901, she moved to a cattle station in Queensland and focussed on her gardening rather than pursuing an artistic career. Scarvell was included in the Exhibition of Australian Art in London in 1898. Her paintings are characterised by a harmonious use of colour and painterly marks.
The Fierce Girls podcast series on the ABC recently featured artist NORA HEYSEN – first female artist to win the coveted Archibald Prize in 1938 and first woman to be appointed an official war artist.
Nora Heysen’s talent was recognised early by her father, the acclaimed artist Hans Heysen. As he noted in a letter to Lionel Lindsay June 1927 when Nora was aged 16 :
“Did I ever tell you – we have another artist in the family! Nora has decided on the profession, and is showing remarkable aptitude. She seems to possess the natural talent and endless industry and concentration to make a success of it … She draws quite naturally – has a splendid sense of proportion and feeling for design …”
Her skill as a draughtsman was built through dedicated study under a disciplined, academic drawing regime, firstly at the North Adelaide School of Fine Art and later at London Central School under Bernard Meninsky and the Byam Shaw School, where drawing from the live model was a fundamental component of the training.
Her mastery of drawing the human figure is unquestionable and her work exhibits strong modelling and graceful line. Her figures are drawn with authority and fidelity. Heysen moved to Sydney on her return to Australia and in 1943 she was appointed the first female official war artist, travelling to New Guinea where she later returned with her husband, Dr Robert Black, a specialist in tropical dieseases. Her ability to capture faces and people with an appealing accuracy and individual personality is especially revealed in these drawings.
Listen to Zhou Xiaoping talking about his unique artistic practice on The Art Show as aired this morning on Radio National, explaining how he draws on his experience of Chinese inks and rice paper, combined with with western art concepts, including the use of oils and canvas, as well as drawing on the influence of his travels in the north of Australia, particularly Arnhem Land and his connection with Aboriginal people and culture, including the use of ochres. As Xiaoping states, his career demonstrates “cross-cultural artistic practice and brought together the influence of Chinese, Western and Aboriginal culture and art concepts. In this practical process, I realised how important cultural reconciliation and civilisational exchange are. … Looking back at my artistic creation process in Australia, I feel that I followed the path of “learning from nature” from the traditional Chinese culture that I accepted when I was young, then followed that path from China to the world of the Australian Aborigines.” The discussion starts about 1/2 hour into the program (30:36).
Finding shards of blue and white china as a child shaped Stephen Bowers’ successful career as an internationally acclaimed ceramic artist . Read of his influences in “Potters on Pots” in the Ceramic Review.
Stephen’s work is also currently the feature of an installation at the Roche Foundation in Adelaide – his opulent pieces distributed throughout the Roche collection of antiques and decorative arts, providing an opportunity for dialogue, juxtaposition and surprise.
“The old King Billy pine cupboard has been decorated by Tasmanian contemporary painter, Michael McWilliams, who began his career painting on old furniture from his family’s antique business. The painting above the cupboard is a watercolour of Nile Farm as it was in 1962, painted by a Launceston local.”
A recent article celebrates the heritage restoration project of John Glover’s Patterdale Farm in Tasmania, featuring a beautiful antique cupboard painted by Michael McWilliams. McWilliams has of course been a previous winner, and finalist on numerous occasions, of the John Glover art prize and has his own historic home and garden in Tasmania, so it is a real delight to see this connection with McWilliams’ artwork in Glover’s home.
Homestolove.com.au : Inside artist John Glover’s restored Patterdale home in Tasmania. The surrounding bushland continue to inspire more than 180 years after John Glover’s paintings made them famous. 5 December 2018
In conjunction with the current exhibition of John Peter Russell at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, a documentary about this fascinating artist will be screened on ABC television Tuesday 30th October at 9.30pm. Australia’s Lost Impressionist examines the relationships and influence of John Peter Russell within the French avant-garde in the late 1880s.
Part of the French avant-garde of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, John Russell was a close friend of Vincent van Gogh and Auguste Rodin, taught impressionist colour theory to Henri Matisse and dined with Claude Monet. Yet history has largely forgotten Russell, who was a key member of this ground-breaking group of artists during one of the most exhilarating periods in art history.
For further details about the AGNSW exhibition which is showing until 11 November please click here.
For details about the documentary please click here and for a preview click here.
An exhibition featuring the work of Australian indigenous women is currently on show at The Phililps Collection in Washington, USA. The nine artists are from a variety of areas highlighting a diversity of artistic practices and include Nonggirrnga Marawili, Wintjiya Napaltjarri, Yukultji Napangati, Angelina Pwerle (Ngal), Carlene West, Regina Pilawuk Wilson, Lena Yarinkura, Gulumbu Yunupingu, and Nyapanyapa Yunupingu. Angelina Ngal from Utopia is sometimes incorrectly known by her late husband’s surname.
“In recent years, women have been at the forefront of contemporary Aboriginal Australian art. The innovative pictorial and conceptual tapestries included in Marking the Infinite demonstrate why. Through a weave of intimate marks, the nine artists map their knowledge of sacred Country, but such is the generous expansiveness of their works that they are not curtailed by these bounds. It is energising to think that women from one of the world’s oldest cultures, working in remote parts of Australia, are making some of the most globally relevant art today.” Sally Grant, Australian Book Review, 28 August 2018
Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia is on display until 9 September.