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April 12, 2021

Celebrating leaders in abstract art

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Grace Crowley, Abstract painting, 1947, oil on cardboard. Photo supplied.

Women leading the charge in abstract art will be celebrated from March 2 at the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre as part of the national touring group exhibition Abstraction.

Drawing from the extensive collection of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, Abstraction will take audiences on a journey from the early 20th Century through to the present day with masterworks from the NGA’s collection that are rarely on display. 

 Curator Lara Nicholls said Abstraction celebrates women who have led the charge early on in this field showing confidence, curiosity and innovation as they engaged with one of the defining movements of the 20th Century.  

‘The most striking thing about this exhibition is that, despite the fact that many of the women who are represented were innovators and leaders, many of them have fallen into relative obscurity,’ Ms Nicholls said.

‘Their work was rarely exhibited or included in critical studies of Abstraction in this country and in this exhibition alone there are 26 works that have not been shown since their creation or premiere exhibition.’

The exhibition reveals the remarkable contribution Australian women artists have made to abstract art through a wide range of media and whose influence still prevails today in contemporary art practice.

Abstraction features 74 works by 38 artists including Margaret Preston, Dorrit Black, Grace Crowley and Anne Dangar through to Inge King, Yvonne Audette, Margo Lewers and Janet Dawson.

It also features works from contemporary practioners such as Virginia Cuppaidge, Elizabeth Coats, Melinda Harper and Debra Dawes.  

‘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,’ Ms Nicholls said. 

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.

All are welcome to join opening celebrations for the exhibition featuring guest speaker Dr Gerard Vaughan AM, Director, National Gallery of Australia on Friday 2 March 2018 starting at 6pm. 

Prior to the official opening an exhibition preview will be conducted by Lara Nicholls, Curator 19th century Australian Art, National Gallery of Australia starting at 5.15pm. 

The exhibition is on display at Tweed Regional Gallery from Friday 2 March until Sunday 20 May 2018.

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