Abstraction: celebrating Australian women abstract artists

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Abstraction: celebrating Australian women abstract artists

Newcastle Region Art Gallery

Tue, 20 June 2017
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Abstraction: celebrating Australian women abstract artists, on exhibition at Newcastle Art Gallery from 20 May to 23 July 2017, celebrates a vital but less-recognised aspect of art history; the contribution of women in the development of Australian abstract art.

Taking audiences on a journey from the early 20th century through to the present day, Abstraction features rarely displayed masterworks from the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. Abstraction is one of the most influential developments in art history and in Australia it was progressive modernist women, starting in the 1920s, who were at the forefront of its development, moving away from the dominance of landscape and portraiture traditions.

“This exhibition reveals the remarkable contribution Australian women artists have made to abstract art through a wide range of media,” said Newcastle Art Gallery Manager Lauretta Morton. “Women abstract artists led the charge early on in this field and influences still prevail today in contemporary art practice.

“A number of the artists featured in this exhibition are also represented in Newcastle Art Gallery’s collection, and we look forward to showcasing a selection on the Gallery’s permanent collection wall to complement the works from the NGA in the exhibition.”

Abstraction features 74 works by 38 artists including Dorrit Black, Grace Crowley, Anne Dangar, and Margaret Preston, through to Yvonne Audette, Janet Dawson, Inge King, Margo Lewers, and into contemporary practitioners such as Elizabeth Coats Virginia Cuppaidge, Debra Dawes, and Melinda Harper. This exhibition also traces the remarkable contribution Indigenous women have made to the development and appreciation of abstraction in Australia and includes major works by Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Sally Gabori, among others.

This exhibition charts the development of abstraction in Australian art, which originally evolved from European Cubism and avant-garde art practices in Paris and London, through to the breakthroughs of the New York School in terms of Abstract Expressionism, Hard Edge abstraction and Minimalism.

Moreover, the breadth of works show that abstraction remains a compelling force in contemporary art practice today.

“Gallery visitors will enjoy the diversity of this exhibition and the many ways in which woman artists have interpreted the abstract art form,” said Morton. “It is an engaging and beautiful exhibition, with works that showcase fabulous use of colour and shape, including paintings, drawings, ceramics, and sculpture.”

Curated by the National Gallery of Australia, the national tour of Abstraction has been made possible through the generous support of the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

A range of public programs have been developed to accompany the exhibition, commencing with a launch event to be held on Saturday 20th May.

Launch event – Abstraction: celebrating Australian women abstract artists
Saturday 20 May, 11am – 12:30pm Free with exhibition entry

Speakers:
Sarah Johnson Curator Newcastle Art Gallery
Lara Nicholls (Exhibition curator) Curator National Gallery of Australia
Janet Dawson exhibiting artist

The contribution of women to this important and influential art movement has, until recently, often been obscured. In celebration of the launch of Abstraction, this talk explores three female perspectives on artist practice and the important themes of this vital exhibition.
More info: http://nag.org.au/Whats-On/Event-Calendar/Launch-event-Abstraction

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