Australian Collection

Currently on display | Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Galleries | Queensland Art Gallery

Art Exhibition previously on at Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane precinct, Queensland, Australia.
From Tuesday 01 May 2012 to Saturday 01 December 2012

Painting IV 1960 image

Published by GAGOMA on Wednesday 16 May 2012.
Contact the publisher.

The six rooms on this level show Australian art dating from the European occupation of the continent to the 1970s. The displays are in chronological order, but they reveal the multiple and sometimes contradictory stories of Australian art. Far from being one grand narrative, this history encompasses different perspectives, personalities, landscapes and cities.

For most of the twentieth century, Australian artists experimented with new forms because they wanted to make art that was modern. This gallery and the one adjacent show the continuation of earlier developments, yet the paintings and sculptures shown here are conceptual rather than representational: they deal with ideas of modernity, but depart radically from the art of previous decades.

The figurative tradition in Australia continued through the 1950s and into the 1960s. However, as works here and in the next gallery show, the mid to late 1960s marked a dramatic shift in focus, and abstraction became prevalent. Many artists moved beyond local vernaculars to establish a dialogue with international trends, especially with those emerging from New York. These included abstract art, works assembled from found objects, and humorous or satirical art that often used images and subject matter from popular culture.

Crucially, the early 1970s saw the emergence of a new painting movement at Papunya, a remote settlement in the desert of the Northern Territory. The early Papunya paintings shown here are by a group of revered senior painters who initiated an extraordinary Aboriginal innovation in Australian cultural life, and whose legacy continues to reverberate today.

Exploring places, people and histories, and focusing on the conventions of art itself, the vibrant and eclectic work of Australian artists is celebrated in these changing displays.