DETAIL: Grace COSSINGTON SMITH,  'Interior in yellow', 1964, oil on composition board, National Gallery of Australia
Art & Life Seminar

Saturday 9 April 2005 James O Fairfax
Theatre National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Grace Cossington Smith
Margaret Preston
Thea Proctor

All three women were vigorous modern artists who found inspiration in different and sometimes overlapping worlds. They were near-contemporaries who worked in Europe at various times in their respective careers, made major contributions to Australian art and remained artistically active late into their lives. While their approaches and personalities were strikingly different, their art shared many qualities, most importantly a strong emphasis on structure, colour and design. They each pushed the boundaries of their artistic practices; during their lifetimes and since they have been regarded as linked pioneers and advocates for Australian modernism.

Bringing these three artists together as a focus of study, the seminar will share recent research and scholarship to give insight into the ways in which they were central to the development of Australian art in the twentieth century.

This seminar, collaboratively presented by the National Gallery of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery, focuses on the life and work of three important artists, the subjects of three concurrent exhibitions:

Margaret Preston – Australian printmaker
18 December to 25 April
National Gallery of Australia

The World of Thea Proctor
8 April to 19 June
National Portrait Gallery

Grace Cossington Smith: a retrospective exhibition
4 March to 13 June
National Gallery of Australia


Seminar Program

9.00 � 9.40 | Registration

9.40 � 9.45 | Welcome | Susan Herbert, Head, Education and Public Programs, National Gallery of Australia

9.45 � 10.15 | Recollections on the Art and Life Margaret Preston, Thea Proctor and Grace Cossington Smith | Mary Turner, former Director, Macquarie Galleries

10.15 � 10.45 | The poetics of place: Sydney as a motif in the works of the three artists | Andrew Sayers, Director, National Portrait Gallery and co-curator, The World of Thea Proctor

10.45 � 11.15 | Grace Cossington Smith: public & private illuminations | Deborah Hart, Senior Curator, Australian Painting and Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia

11.15 � 11.45 | Morning tea

11.45 � 12.15 | Thea Proctor: fan paintings 1906�1930 | Helen Morgan, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

12.15 � 12.45 | This beautiful creature: Thea Proctor�s clothes | Sarah Engledow, Historian, National Portrait Gallery and co-curator, The World of Thea Proctor

12.45 � 2.15 | Lunch | Lunch in the Rose Gardens and exhibition viewing The World of Thea Proctor, National Portrait Gallery, Old Parliament House

2.15 � 2.45 | The Lacquer Room: between the stores | Vivienne Webb, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

2.45 � 3.15 | Under cover of flowers | Mary Eagle

3.15 � 3.45 | Afternoon tea

3.45 � 4.15 | Margaret Preston, aged 78 | Roger Butler, Senior Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Australia

4.15 � 5.00 | Panel discussion and closing remarks by Pamela Clelland Gray, Manager Education and Public Programs, National Portrait Gallery

5.00 � 5.30 | Poetry and painting, poetry reading with Australian poet Suzanne Edgar in Grace Cossington Smith: a retrospective

5.15� 6.30 | Drinks in the Temporary Exhibitions foyer and exhibition viewing Grace Cossington Smith: a retrospective

NGA Home | Introduction | Gallery | Search | Essays | Seminar | Learning | Visiting | Previous