2011 Acquisitions

 

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SinÉ MacPherson

born 1952 Canada

works Perth, Australia

Siné MacPherson has had a long interest in visual information systems and how they are recorded, particularly natural phenomena such as the weather, the colour of birds and plants as well as words used to describe colours. Her paintings are referenced from art history, literature, the dictionary and physical science texts. These inform her excursions into an expressive abstraction that articulates a visual vocabulary compatible with found text descriptions.

MacPherson’s Rainbow series (2011) provide a phenomenological display of how the colours of the rainbow are affected by the size of raindrops: the purity and range of the colours depend on the size of the raindrops. Each of the three paintings offers a different scenario of colour sequences and visual equivalence, from big drops with more red to small drops with less red and brighter blue, paling out to white when only a mist prevails. MacPherson meticulously tracks the sumptuous perceptual effects of what happens when the precise angle between sun, raindrop and eye meets, for each of us individually, an essentially private experience created by the dazzling sequence of colours that is a rainbow, but which has no physical existence except when perceived as a visual effect.

MacPherson has a BA (Psychology), University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts and Art History), from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her work was included in Remix at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 2011 and will be included in the national touring exhibition Luminous Worlds Contemporary Art from the Wesfarmers Collection in 2012-13.

Siné MacPherson Rainbow 1 (from the series Rainbow) 2011. Oil and enamel on canvas, 100 x 100cm. State Art Collection,
Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011

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Daisy Rossi

born 1879 Upper Wakefield, South Australia

died 1974 Geelong, Australia

worked Western Australia

Daisy Rossi was born and grew up in rural South Australia, so she did not commence formal art studies until 1900 when her family moved to Adelaide. Rossi moved to Perth in 1905, where she continued her studies under the influential painter and teacher Florence Fuller, before starting to gain commissions as a portrait painter.

Rossi was an active campaigner on social issues, particularly those concerning the status of women and art, and she was active in a number of formal organisations as well as informally promoting debate through salons she held in her studio. Rossi had an ‘intense wish to make art, and the influence of art, felt’. She was involved with many significant Western Australian families, and it was income from the portraits she painted of many of these individuals that enabled Rossi to travel and study overseas from 1909-1911. Rossi’s palette and technique, as well as her choice of subject changed following her return to Western Australia, and she turned to impressionistic landscape sketches and studies of Western Australian wildflowers, no doubt also encouraged by other Perth artists who were working in a similar manner.

This delightful informal view of yachts moored on the Swan River dates from the period following Rossi’s return from Europe and shows all she learned from looking at Impressionist painting first hand. Close inspection shows the use of a wide palette of colours, with the water for example ranging from strong mauves through blues and whites to buttery cream colours. Rossi’s paint application and her use of a variety of brushstrokes also brings a lively animation to this apparently tranquil scene.

Daisy Rossi not titled [view of boats on the Swan River], not dated.

Daisy Rossi not titled [view of boats on the Swan River], not dated. Oil on card, 19.5 x 29.7 cm. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Gift of The Estate of Barbara and Margaret Evans, 2011.

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Candice Breitz

born 1974 Johannesburg, South Africa

works Berlin, Germany

In her filmic and photographic works over the past decade, Candice Breitz has responded to our apparently culturally insatiable appetite for details from the lives of others. Currently this broad community based interest can be seen across reality TV, phone hacking scandals and the debates surrounding privacy issues in social media. Factum 2010 takes up the dynamic theme of the relationships between pairs of identical twins. Her subject is twins and this series of in-depth video portraits extends Breitz’ interest in portraiture and identity. The title Factum alludes to American artist, Robert Rauschenberg’s near identical paintings Factum I and Factum II. Like twins these two paintings, nominally identical are vastly different when examined closely. Similarly the Factum video portraits reveal the subtle dynamics of shared experience from two distinctive and unique perspectives; as such they present collages of similarities, contradictions, power relations, animosities and attractions.

Factum is a technically brilliant tour de force of cinematography – each twin was interviewed and filmed separately for about seven hours, their individual stories were then transcribed to text, compared, and assembled into dual video portraits that have all the verisimilitude of a seamless two person conversation. That is until the subtle variations like repeated images and phrases begin to hint at the distortions of time and the slippages of memory Candice Breitz has created through editing.

Candice Breitz received her BA (Fine Arts) from the University of Witwatersrand in 1993; a M.A. in Art History from the University of Chicago in 1995; and a M.Phil. in Art History from Columbia University in 1997. Her work has been presented in numerous major exhibitions including Biennales in Johannesburg, São Paulo, Istanbul, Kwangjiu, Taipei, Venice and Singapore and solo exhibitions throughout the world. Her work will be featured in a solo exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne in December 2012.

Candice Breitz Factum McNamara (from the series Factum) 2009

Candice Breitz Factum McNamara (from the series Factum) 2009. Dual-channel installation: 2 hard drives, 49 minutes 29 seconds looped.

State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011

© the artist. Installation view: White Cube Hoxton Square, London, 12 February - 20 March 2010. Photo: Todd-White Art Photography, Courtesy White Cube

Candice Breitz Factum Hawke (from the series Factum) 2009

Candice Breitz Factum Hawke (from the series Factum) 2009. Ddual-channel installation: 2 hard drives, 56 minutes 59 seconds looped. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011. © the artist

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Carl Plate

born 1909 Perth, Australia

died 1977 Sydney, Australia

worked Sydney

Carl Plate studied and travelled in Australia and London in the 1930s and developed an appreciation of modern art as a result. On his return to Sydney in 1940 Plate became a firm advocate for modernism through his work both as an artist and as the owner of the highly influential Notanda Gallery and bookshop.

Although born in Perth, Western Australia, Carl Plate’s family relocated to Sydney in 1914. Plate studied at East Sydney Technical College and then at the Central School of Art and Design and St Martins School of Art (both in London), as well as travelling widely in the years 1935-1940. Plate’s travels and studies had given him an appreciation of modern art, particularly English, and he became an influential advocate for international modernism in Sydney as well as establishing himself as one of Sydney's most important modern painters in the post-war period.

Upon his return to Sydney in 1940 Plate re-opened the Notanda Gallery (it had been initially established by his sister, the sculptor Margo Lewers). The opening exhibition was an exhibition of significant British artists, titled England Today, which included the work of those artists who had most influenced Plate during his formative years studying in England: Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Paul Nash, Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland.

Untitled [surreal landscape] dates from four years after Plate’s return to Australia and is a significant early example of Australian surrealist painting. In spite of its modest size, it clearly shows the influence of English surrealism through the choice of subject and its treatment. Plate’s barren landscape, with its unsettling imagery of a tortured tree trunk and spheres that defy logical explanation closely recalls the imagery of Graham Sutherland, although parallels can also be seen with the late 1930s paintings by Paul Nash.

Carl Plate Untitled [surreal landscape] 1944

Carl Plate Untitled [surreal landscape] 1944. Oil on hardboard, 22.2 x 29.3 sight. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Gift of Sue and Ian Bernadt, 2011.

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Annie Louise Andrews

born 1881 Middlesex, England

died 1972 Perth, Australia

worked Perth

Little is known about the life and art practice of Annie Andrews. Yet the little we do know about her and the maturity of the pencil sketches contained within her sketchbook reveals an artist with graphic experience and technical proficiency. Andrews occupied a studio adjoining James WR Linton in Royal Arcade in Perth in 1920-21, and it was during this period that she drew a number of the pencil portraits contained within the sketchbook.

The twenty-four sketches of the unidentified, mainly female, sitters show Andrews’ considered and careful occupation with line and tone. Rather than being loosely executed in the way an artist might liberally use the pencil in search of form and resolution, each drawing is wonderfully assured, delicate and complete. Obviously for private consumption, they are a small yet impressive insight into the practice of a largely unknown Western Australian female artist working within a much broader artistic community. In this way, the sketchbook adds depth to the collection of works by Western Australian artists in the State Art Collection, including Andrews’ more widely recognised contemporaries James Linton and Daisy Rossi.

 

 

   
 

Annie Louise Andrews not titled [sketchbook containing 24 pencil sketches]1919-1920 (detail). Pencil, 22.9 x 14.1 cm (sheet). State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Gift of Helen Birch, 2011

The Art Gallery of Western Australia wishes to advise that every attempt has been made to contact the owners of copyright and we welcome any further information relating to the photographic images appearing in this publication.

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Ethel Spowers

born 1890 Melbourne, Australia

died 1947

Under the tutelage of Claude Flight, the leading British exponent of the modernist linocut, at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London 1928-29, Ethel Spowers (1890-1947) was exposed to this twentieth century printmaking technique and Flight’s celebration of the rhythms and movement of machines and the human figure in the modern age. Whilst adopting the key modernist principles taught by Flight, namely strong decorative design, the bold flat use of colour, and simplified abstracted forms, Spowers brought her own character to her subject matter, making some of the most striking imagery of the Australian modern era.

In Swings we see Spowers return to the theme of children that she had featured in her art of the mid 1920s. Yet now, in a radical shift in style, her imagery clearly radiates a modernist concern for the dynamic, rhythmic interplay of overlapping shapes and colours. Through the precise geometric arrangement of flattened, simplified forms and repetition of curved lines, Swings epitomises the artist’s skill in harnessing the rhythmic movement of swings and bodies through the air and the delightful, carefree world of childhood. It is a delightful image that remains one of her most iconic.

This is the first work by Ethel Spowers to enter the State Art Collection, boosting the representation of modernist female artists, and in particular printmakers, in the Collection. More widely, it serves to illustrate important developments in printmaking practice in this country.


Ethel Spowers

Swings 1932

colour linocut on buff oriental laid tissue

30.0 x 27.8 cm (sheet)

State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia

Purchased through the Sir Claude Hotchin Art Foundation - Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011

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Paul Caporn

born 1969, Perth, Australia

lives Perth

   

Paul Caporn builds his recent sculptural objects from received systems of common material only to let them fail, thereby deconstructing their meaning and their role in contemporary life. In this work, children’s interlocking playground rubber mats are reworked into the structure of a scissor-lift which, unable to sustain its own weight, has collapsed.

Caporn’s work reflects on the capacity of ordinary materials to express ideas about figurative representation and its relationship with the world. As a failed machine, it offers the metaphorical spectacle of material functionality gone wrong and allows us to see the object differently from its usual objective association as a working mechanical tool. The sculpture’s engaging physical presence rests on its defeated materiality. Created to fail, it becomes a representation of an object that is no longer a machine to support the installation of other artworks and perhaps reflects symbolically on the unsustainability of local economic and environmental life within contemporary Western Australia’s latest boom cycle.

Caporn graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Curtin University of Technology; now Curtin University, Perth (1992) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons.), Curtin University, Perth (2004). Recent solo exhibitions include Absence of occupation is not rest (Heathcote Museum & Gallery, Heathcote Cultural Centre, Perth, 2010); Reconstructions Works (Turner Galleries, Perth 2009); Modified (Touring Exhibition 2005); and Translate (Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan, 2004) as part of an Asialink Residency. Paul was also selected for the Art Gallery of Western Australia’s recent group exhibition remix WA contemporary artists exhibition (2011), for which this work was specially created. His work is represented in public and private collections including the Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Art Bank; Ipswich Council; City of Swan; Curtin University of Technology; Central TAFE; Sunset Events; and various private collections.

Paul Caporn Insupportable 2011 (installation view)

Paul Caporn Insupportable 2011 (installation view). EVA foam, 302 x 250 x 20 cm. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia.
Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011

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Jan Billycan

born 1930, Kirriwirri (near Broome, WA), Australia

works Bidyadanga and Broome, WA

language: Yulparija

Jan Billycan’s series of paintings, depicting the Country around her birth-site, Kirriwirri, exhibit her natural ability to create canvases defined by highly active and textured surfaces. Rendered in a manner which seems almost carefree, they actually belie a great sophistication and tacit knowledge of the structures of modern pictorial construction. Within each of her paintings, the eye flickers between surface readings and implied depths. Billycan’s use of colour is fluid and intuitive, often modulating across the surface on which she lyrically applies her paint.

The Bidyadanga artists have in the past decade become increasingly visible within the Indigenous fine art sector. Billycan is one of the artists who left their homeland in the Great Sandy Desert in the 1960s and relocated to Bidyadanga community. Through ceremony and song the artists kept their relationship to their homelands strong, and in recent years painting has become significant in the documentation and transference of important cultural knowledge. Billycan’s repeated motif Kirriwirri is prominently featured within all of her paintings and, as well as her birth site, is a site of cultural significance for her community.

This work extends the representation of Indigenous Australian art from the Kimberley region within the State Art Collection. Artists of comparable significance within the Collection include Wakartu Cory Surprise, Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Paula Paul, Paddy Kuwumji Bedford and Rover Thomas, all innovators within their fields.

Jan Billycan Kirriwirri 2011
Jan Billycan Kirriwirri 2011. Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 120.0 x 90.0 cm. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia.
Purchased through The Leah Jane Cohen Bequest - Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011
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Jeremy Lepisto

born 1974 Virginia, United States of America

works Canberra, Australia

Jeremy Lepisto is a glass artist with considerable experience working in technical capacities in Bullseye and other glass companies. This has given him consummate skills with a variety of glasses. Rather than opting to focus on technique, however, Lepisto uses his technical understanding to create work with a delicate atmospheric poetry. Typically, his pieces combine kiln-formed structures with sophisticated drawn components. These are incorporated seamlessly into the finished form in order to evoke interpretations of the landscape and its personal relevance.

All the stories continues this approach. It is composed of three crate forms into which are laid drawings of urban spaces. The crates reference his relocation to Australia and the ‘packing down’ of a life. The illustrations are memories of the urban architecture of his American home. They are not made from any particular motif, but are amalgams of the spaces that once surrounded him and that he felt a true absence of in Australia. These structures, that defined him as a human, are the things that cannot be packed, that hover in the mind as real forms, but as forms with no substance.

Jeremy Lepisto All the stories (from the Crate series) 2010

Jeremy Lepisto All the stories (from the Crate series) 2010. Kkiln-formed, cold worked and assembled glass, 38.1 x 20.3 x 20.3 cm.
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011

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Penelope Forlano

born 1973 Sydney, Australia

works Perth, Australia

Penelope Forlano is a young Western Australian designer. The Terrain side table is the first of her works to enter the Collection.

Over the last ten years Forlano has been involved in product, furniture and interior design. She has produced interiors for Axis financial group, Auberge Bar and The White Company. Forlano’s major works include the Lux table (2004-5), a very thin dining table able to be moved by one person; the Linea shelving and table range composed from carbon fibre with no visible fittings or fixtures; and the Slide modular cabinet range (2005) made from numerous stackable, sliding components. Linking all of Forlano’s forms is a focus on aesthetic elegance, lightness and ease of use. With this in mind her works are not intended as monumental statements, but objects to be lived with and around.

The Terrain side table 2010 extends her practice in this way. It was made as a homage to the work of iconic modern designers Charles and Ray Eames. It employs the same scale and material as the Eames’s now famous Walnut stool 1960, which was designed as occasional pieces for the lobby of the Time Life Building in New York. Forlano’s interest was to produce a contemporary piece that the California-based Eames might have made if they were designing now. The work also evidences Forlano’s environmental ethic. The wood is kept to a minimum: the piece is hollow, with strength given by the ways they wood is structured. Despite these references and intentions, Forlano’s table is her own; the angles of the wood create an intensely dynamic form.

With a complicated modern and contemporary heritage, therefore, the Terrain side table joins other works in the State Art Collection such as Josiah McElheny’s Chromatic modernisms that compose contemporary design from modern design. Its imaginative use of wood and refined design aesthetic also parallels works by Khai Liew, Jon Goulder and Christopher Robins and compliments the Collection’s holdings of contemporary Western Australian and Australian design and furniture.

Penelope ForlanoTerrain side table 2010

Penelope ForlanoTerrain side table 2010. American walnut, 44.5 x 34.0 x 340. cm.
Purchased through the Peter Fogarty Design Fund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation

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Timothy Cook

born 1958 Melville Island, Northern Territory

works Melville Island
language: Tiwi

Timothy Cook is an established artist working from Milikapiti (Snake Bay) on Melville Island in the Northern Territory. Cook was born on Melville Island and has spent all of his life living there, engaged in Tiwi culture and ceremony, which informs his artistic practice as one of the leading artists of his community. Although the sensibility behind each of Cook’s works is informed through Tiwi tradition, Cook’s works of art are truly unlike any other Tiwi artist. He is an innovator and depicts his traditional narratives in his own aesthetic, using large areas of negative space, fluid and spontaneous application of ochre, loose interwoven lines and rhythmic mark-making that renders surfaces with an almost shimmering surface.

These recent acquisitions, both titled Kulama, 2011, are fine examples of Cook’s practice. Both works make reference to the Kulama ceremony, a Tiwi rights-of-passage for young Tiwi men. The ceremony involves the preparation of a poisonous yam, which is cooked on hot coals for three days while the ceremony takes place, to be eaten on the last day and to bring closure to the ceremony. Like all Tiwi works, the mark-making and patterns within Cook’s painting refer directly to the ceremonial painting of the body for Tiwi ceremony.

Timothy Cook Kulama 2011
Timothy Cook Kulama 2011. Ochre and acrylic binder on linen, 120.0 x 90.0 cm. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011. Image © Timothy Cook, courtesy of Jilamara Arts & Crafts and Seva Frangos Art

Timothy Cook Kulama 2011
Timothy Cook Kulama 2011. Ochre on linen, 120.0 x 200.0 cm. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011

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Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori

born c1924 Bentinck, Queensland
works Mornington Island, Queensland

language: Kayardild

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori is an established contemporary Kayardild artist who currently lives and works on Mornington Island, in the southern Gulf of Carpenteria, Queensland. Gabori spent much of her life working with traditional fibre and weaving techniques, as is customary in her region, however in her late 80’s Gabori began painting on canvas. Gabori’s shift into this medium produced incredible results, and following her first solo exhibition in 2005 she has continued to amaze and inspire national and international audiences with her natural abilities as a colourist and abstractionist. 

Thundi, 2010, is an excellent example of Gabori’s works, which are nearly always painted in palettes of rich and interwoven colour. As with many of Gabori’s paintings, Thundi, is her depiction of the place where her father was born, by a river close to the site after which this work is named.  Gabori depicts the changing landscape, light and colour of her salt water home, from the sandbars to the sea kelp which is often disturbed by local dugongs that inhabit the waters surrounding Bentinck Island.


Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori Thundi 2010. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 198.0 x 455.0 cm (unstretched image size). State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the TomorrowFund and The Leah Jane Cohen Bequest, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011

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Tarryn Gill & Pilar Mata Dupont

both born 1981 Perth, Australia

work Perth

With backgrounds in dance and music theatre, Tarryn Gill and Pilar Mata Dupont have worked together since 2001 in a practice that encompasses photography, performance, film, installation, choreography, theatre and design to re-imagine history from a feminised perspective. Both fascinated by past eras, Gill and Mata Dupont developed a highly stylised visual language through their series of works called the Heart of Gold projects from 2004-2008, to critique histories of nationalism and explore gender politics.

In this filmic work, Gymnasium, awarded the prestigious 2010 Basil Sellers Art Prize, Gill and Mata Dupont explore the cult of heroic athleticism, drawing on such diverse historical visual sources as Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda films, the precision aesthetics of the 1930s Hollywood musicals and Chinese revolutionary ballets of the 1960s. The orchestration of performers into a smiling sychronised performing group wryly suggests the potential for individual conformity with a larger group aesthetic to promote collective social control.

Tarryn Gill and Pilar Mata Dupont Gymnasium 2010
Tarryn Gill and Pilar Mata Dupont Gymnasium 2010. Blu-ray disc, 3:52 minutes. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia.
Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2011

This photographic work, Bride of the north 2009, featuring a young bride in a lake, references the hopes, dreams and implicit darkness of suburban development/settlement. It joins a small but vital group of works in the State Art collection exploring the history and ideology of Western Australian suburbia. Historically, the work connects back to the highly ambivalent visual statement about the official beginnings of the Perth colony, in George Pitt Morison’s painting, The foundation of Perth, 1829.

This photographic work is staged at Perth’s Lake Joondalup and features a professional actor (the first time the artists have used a professional participant) taking the part of a latter-day Ophelia. Lake Joondalup is one an important series of lakes fed by the northern ground water mound. These lakes are increasingly endangered by the pulling of the water for drinking and watering lawns for the new developments that have steadily sprung up around them. Within this ecological context, the doomed bride image represents a form of Australian gothic, a dark vision that shadows the sunny homes and town site of the real life region.

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