Wednesday, May 29, 2019


As an art student, back in the 1980s, I largely taught myself to make linocuts from examples in books, and Roger Butler’s catalogue of the relief prints in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat (1) was my bible. So you can imagine my excitement about BECOMING MODERN - AUSTRALIAN WOMEN ARTISTS 1920 -1950, which opened last week. Not only does it include many key works by the women artists in my still treasured catalogue, but also numerous examples of paintings, prints, sculptures and by other much admired Modernists, most them from the AGB’s own collection. 

Superlatives all the way for BECOMING MODERN and congratulations and thanks to Curator Julie McLaren, AGB Director Louise Tegart, and all those involved in putting together this superb show. I can’t wait to add the exhibition catalogue to my collection. To learn more about the show, visit the Ballarat Courier HERE.

Last Friday’s memorable opening night, for which we were invited to dress in the Modernist mode, was impeccably stage managed by AGB Marketing and Public Programs Officer, Peter Freund. In the top photo, I’m pictured with Thea Proctor’s iconic hand coloured linocut, The Rose (1927). What a thrill it was to see it in the flesh. (Photo credit: Shane Jones). 

Directly below, I'm with Shane Jones and BECOMING MODERN curator Julie McLaren. (Photo credit: Peter Sparkman).

BECOMING MODERN runs to 4 August. 

The show is a timely one in terms of the campaign 24 Hour Project: Know My Name at the National Gallery of Australia, which was also launched on Friday night. The campaign's aim is to draw attention to the work of creative women everywhere. It will take a damn sight longer than 24 hours for that to happen, but it's a positive start. As Nick Mitzevich, Director, National Gallery of Australia, states:

"We want to do more than have a conversation about equality, we want to take action and address the significant imbalance before us... The value of women artists in this country needs to be elevated as we are a thriving, diverse culture that should be celebrated.”

(1) Roger Butler, 1981, Melbourne Woodcuts and Linocuts of the 1920s and 1930s, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat, Vic.