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New England Regional Art Museum | Leading Australian Artist on Show in Armidale

Image: Elisabeth Cummings, ‘Journey through the studio (Wedderburn)’, 2004, oil on canvas, private collection.
 
 
Discover the work of one of Australia’s greatest living artists in the new exhibition Elisabeth Cummings: Interior Landscapes which will open at the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) at 6.00pm on Friday 18 August 2017.
 
Visitors will encounter the sumptuous paintings of studio interiors and landscapes from throughout the career of Elisabeth Cummings (born in Brisbane in 1934) in this critically acclaimed retrospective exhibition curated by Sioux Garside and being toured by the Drill Hall Gallery at the Australian National University.
 
“Elisabeth Cummings is currently at the top of her game and is widely admired and acclaimed as one of the great Australian artists of her generation,” said Robert Heather, Art Museum Director. “This is a fabulous opportunity to see a wide variety of her works here in Armidale in an exhibition that brings together beautiful paintings from collections around the country.”
 
“This exhibition has already had an enthusiastic response and great reviews in Canberra and Sydney and we look forwards to presenting it to our community and visitors here in New England.”
 
The exhibition has been curated by Sioux Garside, founding Director of the Campbelltown Art Gallery and also of the Sydney University Art Gallery and she has also written a fully illustrated book about the artist and her work.
 
“Elisabeth Cummings graduated from the National Art School in Sydney in the 1950s as part of a cohort of high achievers, and her generation witnessed the heyday of Abstract Expressionism: she was 22 years old when Jackson Pollock died,” said Sioux Garside. “Perhaps the most crucial factor which lends the most distinctive character to her paintings is the spirit of the Australian Bush where since 1970, Cummings has occupied a home and studio in an artists’ colony in Wedderburn, overlooking a steep, heavily wooded gully nearby the Georges River, south of Sydney.
 
“We owned the land together,” said Elisabeth Cummings. “There were five of us in the beginning. There was me, Joan Brassil, John Peart, Roy Jackson and Fred Braat. We had twenty-five acres and we all had our studios.” Her complicity with Peart and Jackson was especially profound and their deaths within two months of each other in 2013 was a great loss to her.
An avid and repeated visitor to remote areas of Australia, Cummings has been traversing the country since the 1980s having spent regular periods in the Flinders Ranges, visiting Arkaroola, the Gammon Ranges and their surroundings. Her painting excursions have encompassed Lake Mungo, The Kimberleys, Elcho Island (as an invited guest of the Indigenous community), Menindee, West MacDonnell Ranges, Fowlers Gap, the Monaro and Currumbin in Queensland.
 
These painting journeys are not limited to Australia. In 2014 she completed a residency in Waiheke, New Zealand; another in 2015 at The Nock Art Foundation in Hong Kong, and in 2016 residencies in Queenstown, New Zealand and Moonee Beach, Coffs Harbour. These residencies all resulted in works for exhibition in private and public galleries.
 
Elisabeth Cumming: Interior Landscapes is a Drill Hall Gallery touring exhibition and will be on display at the New England Regional Art Museum from 1Friday 18 August until Sunday 4 November 2017. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue and a monograph book which is available at the NERAM Shop.