'Temporal Fluidity No 6', 2019, Dehua porcelain
MAG&M’s most recent acquisition is by contemporary ceramic artist Juz Kitson, who grew up on the Northern Beaches and was the inaugural winner of the 'Express Yourself' Theo Batten Youth Art Award in 2005.
Working out of her studios in regional NSW and the historic town Jingdezhen, the 'porcelain capital' of China, Kitson's work explores the relationship between the ephemerality of humankind and the varied mix of flora and fauna in our environment. This piece, part of her most recent series of work, looks at the grand themes of evolution and extinction.
Kitson (b.1987) graduated from The National Art School in 2009 and has exhibited both nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions.
'Temporal Fluidity No 6', 2019, Dehua porcelain
'Blue Harbour', 2018, oil on linen
'Blue Harbour' by Archibald Prize-winning artist, Wendy Sharpe (b.1960), with its vast view north across the Harbour, incorporates a self-portrait of the artist herself amidst some of Sydney’s key landmarks - the Harbour Bridge, Customs House and Circular Quay - illuminated and shimmering at night. Sharpe created this work by first making small sketches in pencil and gouache during her artist-in-residency at a law firm on Bligh St, with a harbour view. Working the sketches up into the vibrant and colourful 'Blue Harbour' painting back in her studio, Sharpe remarked that “at night everything looks more magical and mysterious”.
Both of these new acquisitions were purchased and donated by the MAG&M Society to mark the Gallery’s 90th birthday in 2020.
'Blue Harbour', 2018, oil on linen
'All that remains series - Binoculars', 2009, archival pigment print
In celebration of MAG&M’s 90th anniversary, American-born photographer Chuck Bradley (b.1959) has donated two works to the MAG&M Collection including, 'All that Remains series – Binoculars', 2009.
The artwork featured on the cover of MAG&M’s 2009 exhibition ‘Offshore: Artists of Scotland Island & Pittwater’s Western Foreshore’ and was part of a series of photographs developed in the aftermath of a Newport marina fire in 2009, which destroyed several boats. Bradley said, “As we all helped over the coming days to recover whatever we could from the ashes, I started to see a strange beauty in all the destruction. Objects that we used onboard regularly, became beautiful in their charred state. I collected what I could salvage to document All that Remains’.
Chuck Bradley was based on the Northern Beaches for many years, living on Scotland Island in Pittwater and working from a studio in Brookvale. His long relationship with MAG&M has included a solo exhibition 'Nostalgica' in 2013 and a period as artist-in-residence, creating still life installations from our museum objects collection.
Through the generosity of artists like Chuck Bradley, MAG&M's Collection continues to grow - and represent the works of many of Australia's most significant artists.
Chuck Bradley, 'All that remains series - Binoculars', 2009, archival pigment print, 1 of 25, 61.4 x 61.4cm
Please Don’t Pick Flowers - 2019 ed 3/8hand coloured pigment print on cotton rag paper
Joan Ross’ artworks often combine colonial iconography and landscape painting with montaged symbols of western culture. They examine the imposition of colonialism in Australia, especially concerning its effect on indigenous Australians, drawing attention to the complex and ongoing issues surrounding first contact. The use of fluorescent yellow and high-visibility clothing in Ross’ work symbolises colonisation, highlighting the foreign disruption of western culture into the natural order of this place.
The relevance of the title of this work, Please don’t pick flowers, resonates in Manly as the picking of native flowers in the area, especially at North Head, for the annual ‘Manly Wildflower Show’ (1881-99) led to the widespread destruction on native flora. MAG&M purchased this work recently, making it one of the newest collection acquisitions. Ross’ work also currently features on the Sydney Modern hoarding at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Joan Ross (b.1962) Please Don’t Pick Flowers 2019 ed 3/8 hand coloured pigment print on cotton rag paper, 83 x 118cm, Purchased by MAG&M 2019
Untitled, 1984, oil on canvas
Elisabeth Cummings (b.1934), is one of Australia’s most respected painters who has spent the last sixty years developing work that shifts between abstraction and figuration, inspired by the Australian bush yet drawn from memory. Her contribution as a teacher at the National Art School for thirty years from 1969 and as a member of the Wedderburn artists’ colony have contributed significantly to the story of Australian art.
Untitled, 1984 is a very good example of the abstract nature of Cummings’ landscape paintings during the early 1980s. MAG&M is very pleased with the generous donation by Peter Boehm. It complements MAG&M’s current holdings of two small paintings from the 1970s and four more recent etchings. MAG&M has featured Cummings’ work in two major exhibitions; Destination Sydney in 2015 and Harbour Life in 2008.
Cummings’ large paintings are distinguished by impastoed surfaces and ebullient colour. At the time this was painted, the artist was living and working extensively in her studio at Wedderburn NSW, paying very close attention to her surrounds. The property is mostly native bushland and, except for the studio and its immediate surrounds, nothing much has altered the look of the landscape. Judging by the rich colour, it suggests Springtime and the richness of the growing season. It also depicts Kenny's dam which is at the end of the walking track near the property.
Elisabeth Cummings, Untitled, 1984, oil on canvas, 122 x 112cm
Sydney Harbour, 2019, oil on linen
Rodney Pople (b.1952) is an interdisciplinary artist who works across various mediums including painting, photography and sculpture. Sydney Harbour is a significant recent work by this Sydney artist, and is a most welcome and generous donation by Felicity Fenner.
In this painting, a group of penguins is shown stranded on an iceberg in Sydney Harbour. The iceberg, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge glow with a light that seems to somehow emanate from behind the dark canvas. This kind of mysterious, almost dream-like scene is typical of Pople’s paintings.
The subject matter of this painting is also relevant as one of MAG&M’s collection foci is Sydney Harbour. In December 2021, alongside the Destination Sydney exhibition, MAG&M plans to curate a harbour themed exhibition drawn from the collection. This painting by Rodney Pople will sit well alongside works by Kevin Connor and Wendy Sharpe, and among the etchings, drawings, paintings and photographs currently in the collection on the same theme.
Rodney Pople, Sydney Harbour, 2019, oil on linen, 96 x 136cm
Ern Malley Series – The Darkening Ecliptic - Petit Testament, Ceramic box
Encased in a ceramic box is a series of nine etchings which form a gridded image from artist Garry Shead’s renowned Ern Malley series. It forms part of a larger gift of 17 items recently donated to MAG&M by the artist through the Federal Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.
As a narrative painter and printmaker, Garry Shead is one of Australia’s most respected artists who has spent the last sixty years developing a unique and distinctive style. Shead’s lyrical paintings and prints, created from the artist’s furtive imagination and memory, and inspired by Australian culture, have contributed significantly to the story of Australian art. This work is based on the infamous Australian Ern Malley hoax, and specifically on Malley’s poem ‘The Darkening Ecliptic’ which was published in the 1944 Autumn issue of the Angry Penguins magazine. The poem which is the subject of the image had been highly praised, even though Sydney poets James McAuley and Harold Stewart admitted that the work was farcical and cynically created by them to prove that the Melbourne literary scene could not tell the difference between great poetry and something lesser.
Garry Shead (b.1942) trained at the National Art School, Sydney between 1961 and 1962. His work has been included in group exhibitions including the Archibald, Wynne, Sulman and Moran Prizes at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Shead was awarded the Young Contemporaries Prize by the Central Art School in Sydney, 1967, the Archibald Prize in 1993 and the Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris through the Power Institute in 1973. He was artist in residence at Karolyi Foundation Studio in Venice through the Victorian Arts Board in 1982 and has completed residencies with the Indigenous artists of Lockhart River. Shead’s work is held by the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, and numerous regional galleries. Several monographs on his work have been published
Garry Shead (b.1942), Ern Malley Series – The Darkening Ecliptic - Petit Testament, Ceramic box, 29 x 21.5 x 6cm, 9 etchings, each 15 x 22cm Ed. 32/50. Printed by Basil Hall Editions