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Rosalie Gascoigne
, 1993

by Greg Weight

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 50.4 cm x 40.4 cm, image: 45.5 cm x 35.6 cm)

Rosalie Gascoigne (1917–1999), artist, came to Australia from New Zealand in 1943 to marry the astronomer Ben Gascoigne. For some years they lived on Mount Stromlo, where Rosalie rambled absorbing the textures, colours and light of the landscape. In the early 1960s she began many years’ study of ikebana, the Japanese art of floral arrangement. With no formal art training, nor capacity to draw, in the 1970s she began making objects and ‘assemblages’ from natural and man-made materials she had salvaged and hoarded – rusted iron, drink crates, bee hives, road signs, shells, grass stalks, kewpie dolls, linoleum. In 1974 she exhibited at the Macquarie Galleries in Sydney; just four years later she had a survey show at the National Gallery of Victoria. The only visual artist of major stature to engage with the dry landscape of the Canberra region over a long period, over the ensuing decades she made a series of majestic representations of the surrounding country including Feathered fence (1979) and Monaro (1989). In 2008–2009 the National Gallery of Victoria mounted a major retrospective, confirming Gascoigne as one of the handful of artists whose work has changed the way Australians see their landscape.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Patrick Corrigan AM 2004
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2004.110