Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery

A partial view: Australian art in the UWA Art Collection

Further information

Exhibition dates:
17 June - 7 September 2005

A Partial View features one hundred works from the University of Western Australia Art Collection.

The UWA Art Collection has grown since the late 1920s to become one of the premier art collections in Western Australia.A Partial View celebrates its history and the wide community support it enjoys.

The Collection began in earnest with the donation of a number of paintings in the late 1940s, followed by the purchase of a dozen paintings by Sidney Nolan in 1953. This move, with funds from the Tom Collins Bequest, was bold and at the same time controversial, but it was also central to the collection's future growth. The Nolans were followed by several decades of careful acquiring, by both donation and purchase, major works of modern and contemporary art by Australian artists, leading to the opening of the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery in 1990.

Carol Rudyard, Black flowers (detail) (1990) video installation, The University of Western Australia Art Collection, Gift of the artist

Works in A Partial View have been selected as an overview of the Collection, including a number of iconic pieces, alongside other less recognised ones. Together they reveal much about Australian art, and art in Western Australia, through the twentieth century. Due to the scale of the collection, this exhibition will be seen in two installments, with over forty works changing in late July. All works in the exhibition will feature in the first major book on the UWA Art Collection, which is to be published in late 2005.

The work represented in this exhibition ranges across the historical and contemporary divide to reveal the breadth of the University of Western Australia Art Collection. Traditional landscape and portraiture includes a large nineteenth century painting Au bord de la mer (1896) by Rupert Bunny, while recent art by Brian Blanchflower and Trevor Vickers explores the process and matter of painting.

The exhibition provides a fascinating overview of the development of modern art movements in Australia, with work by Albert Tucker, Arthur Boyd, Ian Fairweather, Inge King, Robert Juniper and Fred Williams. There are poignant, intimate images by Joy Hester, Josl Bergner, and Clarice Beckett. Contemporary paintings by Stewart MacFarland, Tom Alberts, and Julie Dowling form a component of powerful figurative art within the exhibition. Half the work in the show is by Western Australian artists, who make important statements about art and life in this place.

Sidney Nolan, Agricultural Hotel (1948), enamel on board, The University of Western Australia Art Collection, Tom Collins Bequest Fund

The Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, as befits its place in the University, is a centre for critical and scholarly engagement with visual culture, and an important and attractive meeting place for the University and its communities. Much of the Art Collection has been purchased with bequest funds, or been donated to the University, and this community generosity has been very influential and important to its growth. The University of Western Australia recognises and values its partnerships with donors and the community in the development, care and display of this great art collection.

Art collections are always organic entities, never complete and always partial. They reflect powerfully held beliefs about art, society and culture, and are influenced by changes in economics as well as developments in art practice. This exhibition reveals much about a culture in development, Australia pre and post war and moving forward to the end of the century.

The challenge for the University of Western Australia and its supporters in the community is to extend this Collection, to see it continue to grow, and to add new work to it just as boldly and perceptively as had been done in the past.


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Last updated:
Friday, 12 April, 2013 9:17 AM