European + American Art

Bridging worlds

This room is dedicated to the art of key Australian artists, whose work is held in considerable depth by the NGA. In the centre of the room, we have installed Rosalie Gascoigne’s Feathered fence 1979. Gascoigne was a Canberra-based artist who specialised in making poignant and beautiful assemblages, more often than not using found natural materials or worn, discarded objects, commenting on the variously weathered and lyrical beauty of the landscapes we inhabit. She was also drawn to the poetic resonances of birds and the spaciousness of the terrain around Lake George. We plan to present a major display of her work in the near future.

A sense of the vastness of the land is evident in the breathtaking expanse of Judy Watson’s earthy, luminous painting Canyon. Watson’s evocative works reference her Aboriginal heritage, in particular the environment of the Gulf Country of northwest Queensland and her Waanyi people, known as ‘running water people’ because of the inherent quality of water in their country. Like Canyon her resonant blue works comment on the inextricable link between self and place which emanates from a profound sense of cultural identity. For Watson references to imagery such as the bailer shell symbolise resistance and survival in Indigenous culture.