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Nancy Borlase

In their own words

Recorded 1962

Nancy Borlase
Audio: 2 minutes

In 1956 I went abroad and it was in New York that I first received, I think, a real awakening as a painter, when I came in contact with the New York School of abstract expressionism and I saw for the first time paintings of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Rothko and many other painters who were then at the peak of their prestige locally, not quite at the peak of their prestige in an international sense. To see their work, to me, which was a form of complete abstractionism, something which I had always sensed when I was working in a figurative style, I was working towards a certain abstractionism, but I was always inhibited by the subject.

And when I saw this work, which was completely uninhibited in that respect, without realising it, mentally anyway I moved right over towards a complete abstract mode of expression. That is what excited me most, and, in the course of my travels around the world, those were the works in painting and sculpture that excited me most.

And when I returned, I then had my direction. I felt very strongly that this is what I wanted to do; I wanted to find naturally my own personal style. And since then my career as a painter has, I suppose, taken wing, and it has been a search for a personal way of expressing myself in a broad international abstract style.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Nancy Borlase is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

Related people

Nancy Borlase AM

Related information

Pat Mackie
Pat Mackie
Pat Mackie
Pat Mackie

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Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2005

Dr Sarah Engledow delves into the life of union leader Pat Mackie who is depicted in a portrait by Nancy Borlase AM.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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