Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery

Approaches to Modernism: The Art of Portia Bennett, Elise Blumann and Iris Francis 1930s to 1950s

Further information

Exhibition dates:
4 July - 29 August 2004

Curator: Dr Sally Quin

This exhibition addresses aspects of modernist art in Perth between the 1930s and 1950s by focusing on the art of Portia Bennett (1898-1989), Elise Blumann (1897-1990) and Iris Francis (1913-2004).

Each artist is understood in relation to a key artistic theme, which informs an understanding of Western Australian artistic culture of the time:

  • Bennett's work relates to an interest in achitectural forms and concepts of the modern city;
  • Blumann's painting highlights the expressive potential of the human form and local landscape; and
  • aspects of Francis's practice explore the formal language and subject matter of modernist movements.

Elise Blumann Summer Nude (1939) oil on masonite. The University of Western Australia Art Collection, Gift of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council and Dr. Albert Gild Fund

Women have been widely acknowledged as central to the modernist art movement in Australia where many received professional training, played key roles in art societies, exhibited widely, and were at the forefront of experimentation with differing media and artistic forms.

Approaches to Modernism brings together a number of works which have not been previously exhibited, and offers an opportunity to explore aspects of Perth culture and environs of the period.


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