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Celebrating 25 Years of the AGWA Foundation

21 June - 23 November 2014

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation. Since its inception in 1989, the Foundation has helped the Gallery purchase over 4,500 works for the State Art Collection. In the last five years, Foundation funds have accounted for 80% of all recent acquisitions. To celebrate this milestone, a showcase of significant works acquired through the Foundation’s vital support is on display at AGWA until 23 November 2014.

Visitors will also be able to view 245 works acquired through the Foundation that are currently on display throughout the permanent Your Collection galleries. The anniversary display features a diverse mix of historical, contemporary and Indigenous works of great significance such as Richard Bell’s Colour Theory 2012, Patrick Mung Mung’s Gawarre 2011, Concertina 2008 by Trevor Richards, Pilar Mata Dupont’s The Embrace 2013, Swings 1932 by Ethel Spowers, Joy Hester’s Mad girl c1942 and a selection of eighteenth century porcelain items, as well as the superbly modelled and painted Vase with albatross decoration 1919.



Within this display of highlights drawn from the State Art Collection are works of great significance such as Patrick Mung Mung’s Gawarre 2011, a rich and captivating image of the Purnululu National Park, that depicts the great reverence the Gija people of the far-north of Western Australia have for this important site and for their Country. The display generally celebrates the achievements of Indigenous Australian artists and features works by Tony Albert, Paddy Bedford, Richard Bell, Fiona Foley, Gunybi Ganambarr, Kitty Kantilla, Ray Ken and Justin Puruntatameri.



Foundation funds have also enabled the acquisition of works like Concertina 2008, by Trevor Richards which reflects the artist’s on-going exploration of the stereotypes of image making. This chevron patterned work shows Richards’ interest in minimalism with its repeated, systematic forms. Another Western Australian artist, Pilar Mata Dupont is represented by a lush filmic work The Embrace 2013, which resulted from an Asialink residency in Seoul and her extensive research into the history and politics between North and South Korea. John Nixon is a distinguished and influential Australian artist whose recent assemblage work Silver Monochrome 2011 eloquently represents his on-going interest in material exploration and his conceptual fusion of the aesthetics of the monochrome and the readymade.



In the historical field, support from the Foundation has allowed for works of Australian women artists with a modernist sensibility to be collected. With its dynamic design, wonderfully playful sense of movement, and rhythmic interplay of overlapping shapes and colours, it is clear why Swings 1932 is one of Ethel Spowers’ most widely admired modernist prints. This fine print is just one of the works in the display which showcases the achievements of these artists; other prints by Eveline Syme and Margaret Preston, and works by Joy Hester such as the enigmatic painting Mad girl c1942, all feature to make a strong statement about this period in Australian art.


decorative arts

The decorative arts have also been well-supported by benefactors as can be seen in Kitch Currie’s Peacock necklace c1973, the selection of eighteenth century porcelain items on show, and the superbly modelled and painted Vase with albatross decoration 1919. The latter forms part of an important and extensive gift of Scandinavian Art Nouveau objects that illustrate the achievements of those designers and makers in fusing the strands of Japanese-inspired French Art Nouveau with their native folk craft traditions. This interest in the natural world also informs David Hay’s glass piece Possibilities 2008, which imagines the intersection of land and sea as seen from an aerial perspective. Its exquisitely blown form combines with a fine surface finish, making it a perfect foil to the elegant simplicity of Flavio Poli’s technically-challenging sommerso Vase 1960.


Image Gallery

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