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Study for "Portrait of the artist as an evolving landscape", 1991

James Gleeson

pencil, charcoal and paper collage on paper (sheet: 38.0 cm x 51.0 cm)

James Gleeson AO was Australia's best-known surrealist artist, and from the late 1930s onwards he was a tireless supporter of Australian modern art. Deeply interested in psychology, he wrote poetry and many essays and several books on Australian art. His own art has been the subject of several major exhibitions. As a young boy he lived at Gosford on the New South Wales Central Coast and much of his art work has been inspired by the beach rock pools from his youth, 'full of marvellous shapes' and 'biomorphic forms'. For Gleeson the littoral zone where sea meets land was a powerful metaphor for the interplay of the conscious and unconscious mind and of the fluid nature of existence. Gleeson reflected that 'One of the most important and constantly recurring motifs throughout my work is based on a sense of the mutability of all forms and substances. Metamorphosis has always been, for me, one of the basic facts of life. Everything takes on a form, changes, falls apart and reforms in new organisations in an endless cycle.'

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Ray Wilson OAM in memory of James Agapitos OAM 2011

Accession number: 2011.119

Currently on display: Gallery Six (Tim Fairfax Gallery)

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Artist and subject

James Gleeson (age 76 in 1991)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts


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