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Bea Maddock

1934 – 2016

Bea Maddock studied at the Hobart Technical College in the early 1950s before travelling to London, where she attended the Slade School from 1959 to 1961. From the time of her return to Australia, she taught: at the Launceston Teachers’ College, the Launceston Technical College, the National Gallery of Victoria school, the Victorian College of the Arts and the Bendigo College of Advanced Education. In 1979-1980 she made a large wax-coated collage of embossed hand-made paper words on commission for the new High Court in Canberra. In February 1983 her home and studio at Mount Macedon were razed in the Ash Wednesday fires. She returned to Launceston where she was head of the school of art at the College of Advanced Education for two years. Between 1964 and 2006, she held more than forty solo exhibitions and her work was included in more than seventy Australian and international group shows. In 1986 she held the Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University; the following year she went to Antarctica, the trip giving rise to panoramic views of the territory. Metaphysical enquiry, dread and loneliness were often evoked in her introspective self-portraits; the exhibition Being and Nothingness toured state galleries and the National Gallery of Australia in 1992-1993. In 1993 she was the winner of the Clemenger Award for Contemporary Art. From 1993 to 1998 she worked on Terra Spiritus: With a Darker Shade of Pale, a monumental 52-sheet panorama of the entire coastline of Tasmania, made from ochre pigment she sourced and ground herself and incorporating the placenames and language of Tasmanian Aboriginal people. In 1999 the National Gallery held a solo print survey and in 2002 the Museum of Contemporary Art mounted a broader survey of her work. Maddock’s work is held by most major Australian galleries; the National Gallery has a major collection of her prints as well as several significant paintings including Solitary 1979 and We live in the meanings we are able to discern 1987.

Updated 2018