Curated by Michelle Jacques and Nicole Stanbridge | Centennial and Ker Galleries | January 30 – May 23, 2016
How do you define watercolour? While it is one of the more challenging mediums to work with, it has at times throughout history been seen as a medium of leisure, used for studies or sketches, or as a precursor to more ‘serious’ works. This investigation into the Gallery’s collection of watercolour paintings uncovers an unexpected array of works that challenge these assumptions.
Spanning nearly two hundred years of production, from the late 1700s until just before the last quarter of the 20th century, this exhibition asks the following questions: How has watercolour been considered throughout the centuries? What preconceptions do people hold about the medium? How has watercolour embodied key movements in art history? Works by well-known artists mingle with those by less familiar practitioners of the medium. And while the collections of so many art museums are marked by historical collecting biases that favoured male artists, amongst the watercolours acquired by the AGGV, there are a remarkable number of works by women artists, allowing us to examine their contributions to art history over this 200 year period.
The watercolours selected for Water + Pigment + Paper represent a remarkable range of artists, and reveal the compelling and challenging ways in which the medium has been used in the gifted hands of artists including Maxwell Bates, Pat Martin Bates, Emily Carr, Pegi Nicol Macleod, Jack Shadbolt, Herbert Siebner, Phoebe Anna Traquair, Margaret Peterson, Mark Tobey and Vera Weatherbie.