Australian artists I love – Part 1

As an Australian artist living and working overseas (in London). I thought I would write a little on the Australian artists that have influenced me,  while I was growing up in Melbourne, a gem of a city with a lively arts culture. I might make this a bit of an ongoing post as there a number of artist I would really like to mention.

So I’ll start with these two. James Gleeson and Vali Myers. When I think of Artists that left their mark on me these are the two that leap to mind.

I really can not describe how much of an effect James Gleeson’s work had on me. I saw a number of his shows and recall being totally blown away one day by a large collection at the Pinacotheca gallery, Melbourne in the mid 80’s. The paintings where large and otherworldly. All a combination of landscape, portraits and abstract marks beautifully merged, layered and painted together. I was a poor art student desperately wondering how I could raise enough cash to purchase just a small bit of work to keep around me. Sadly, I couldn’t do it.

Another memorable show featuring Gleeson’s work was at Heide Park and Art Gallery. This gallery was one of my favourites. Situated slightly out of the city surrounded by land often filled with sculptures. It was a day out to wonder the grounds, dip your feet in the river, picnic and sometimes even attend a music festival and check out some great art. It has a rich history as an artists community stretching back to the 1930’s

Another artist I want to mention in this first post is Vali Myers. Her adventurous spirit and artworks appealed to me. It seemed to me that art just kind of flowed from her. In her dress, her makeup, her tattoos and of course her drawings. She hung out with other artists, musicians of legend. To me she was an inspiration, one of the few Australian women artists I ever heard much about. And I adored her drawings, intricate and personal, months in the making. I am sad to say I have just missed an exhibition of her work in Melbourne at Outré gallery. However the good news is there is a book (hopefully shipping internationaly soon). Details here.

Please click on the links to see and read more about both their work and the amazing lives they led.

James Gleeson
Vali Myers.