Saturday, December 4, 2010

Admiration - Rosalie Gascoigne

I've long been an admirer of artist Rosalie Gascoigne. I find her work, and her story, really inspirational. Born in New Zealand, she worked in Australia from 1974 to 1999. She established a reputation as one of Australia’s foremost contemporary artists, yet had her first serious exhibition at the age of 57.

Gascoigne worked mostly with found materials: drinks crates, road signs, floral lino, enamelware, galvanised tin, corrugated iron and masonite. Some of her most iconic works are abstract grids of letters and word fragments - black text on yellow backgrounds, found on wooden Schweppes soft-drink crates and reflective road signs.

Rosalie Gascoigne exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square, Melbourne 2009:

Source: aliasfreq at

Source: aliasfreq at

Photo: Justin Fox

More information about Rosalie Gascoigne:

Recently I read on Indesignlive about a Melbourne artist, Brett Coelho, who has also been inspired by Gascoigne. Brett Coelho worked as a graphic designer for 10 years, before becoming a full time artist working with found materials and exploring nature as a theme in his art. His work celebrates the ordinary, finding beauty in the most unlikely of places. He has recently collaborated with Bleux Design who have produced prints for architectural use.

Image: Brett Coelho / Bleux Design Source:

Image: Brett Coelho / Bleux Design Source:

Read more about Brett Coelho and Bleux Design at


Awe-inspiring indigenous art

A highlight of my trip to the Northern Territory in September was the Desert Mob 2010 exhibition at the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs. It's an annual exhibition of art from Aboriginal communities across the Western Desert region spanning the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

We only had a short time there, but as I hurried from room to room, I felt exhilarated by the explosion of colour and the diversity of painting styles plus weaving, pottery and sculpture.

Here's a few pics of the exhibition catalogue:

Front cover of the catalogue: Harry Tjutjuna. Wati Ngintaka, Wati Nyiru, Wanka and Kungka Tjuta, 2009. Acrylic on linen 202 x 264 cm. Araluen Art Collection. Purchased from Desert Mob 2009.

Left: Sadie Singer. Old trucks, 2010. Acrylic on canvas 100 x 120 cm. Iwantja Arts.
Right: Nyarrapyi Giles. Warmurrungu, 2010. Acrylic on canvas 182 x 179 cm. Tjarlirli Art.

Left: Tommy Mitchell. Wakalpuka, 2010. Acrylic on canvas 101 x 76 cm. Warakurna Artists.
Right: Tiger Palpatja. Piltati ka Wati Tjakura, 2010. Acrylic on canvas 199 x 122 cm. Tjungu Palya.


Back in Sydney, I went to the open weekend at Art Gallery of NSW for the Art + Soul exhibition, and also loved the associated ABC tv series presented by curator Hetti Perkins and directed by Warwick Thornton.

Hetti Perkins, Art + Soul, ABC tv series 2010. Source:

One of the most astounding moments in the series, for me, was watching Aboriginal artist Mr Giles 'sing' a painting by another artist. Although he had never seen the artwork before, he immediately recognised and understood its story. It gave me goosebumps to realise the depth of meaning contained in these abstract works.