This exhibition in Heide II traces 40 years of painting and drawing by Denise Green, an expatriate Australian artist born in Brisbane in 1946, who has lived in New York since 1969.
Green’s earliest works in the exhibition are drawn from a series that featured in the Whitney’s New Image Painting exhibition in 1978, which identified a new generation of artists whose work re-introduced the depiction of objects in response to the pure abstraction of the 1960s. Her objects are characteristically simple and archetypal: a fan, a tree, a needle, a vessel, often centrally presented against a reduced background.
Green’s distinctive visual language has developed out of a multitude of experiences and influences. Her artistic sources are as diverse as eastern calligraphy, Groote Eylant bark paintings, 1960s American abstraction (in which she was schooled at New York City’s Hunter College under Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell), Etruscan pottery. These are synthesised in an intuitive painting style which gives expressive shape to ideas and emotional states that are often rooted in deeply personal experiences of loss and grief. Green’s mark-making process is one of discovery in which, as writer Ingrid Periz describes, she consistently aims for “a fusion of inner states and outer form”.
In 2007 Denise Green was awarded the Order of Australia for service to the arts, particularly as an abstract painter and an author, and through her promotion of Australian art and artists internationally.