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Exhibition at Tarrawarra Museum of Art pairs the work of Patricia Piccinini and Joy Hester
Installation view.

HEALESVILLE.- Love and intimacy is the focus of a landmark exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art that for the first time pairs the work of Patricia Piccinini with that of important Australian modernist Joy Hester.

Patricia Piccinini and Joy Hester: Through love… is curated by Victoria Lynn and presents more than 50 works, including Sanctuary, a major new sculpture by Piccinini, and rarely-seen works by Hester. The exhibition explores the incredible spectrum of human and non-human relationships, from romantic love and maternal devotion through to the connections formed between humans and animals, and animate and inanimate objects.

Melbourne-based artist Piccinini describes her early practice as being profoundly influenced by the work of Hester (1920-60), who was acclaimed for highly personal brush and ink drawings that evoked emotional extremes from passion to loneliness.

Victoria Lynn, Director, TarraWarra Museum of Art, said, ‘This is the first exhibition to explore the parallels between the works of Joy Hester and Patricia Piccinini, relating Hester’s expressionistic ink portraits of lovers to Piccinini’s depictions of intermingled human, nonhuman and hybrid forms.’

Several of the Hester works showing at TarraWarra were exhibited by Tolarno Galleries in the 1970s, resulting in acquisitions by the National Gallery of Australia and National Gallery of Victoria and a number of well-known collectors. Renewed interest in Hester soared throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Patricia Piccinini will exhibit new work at Tolarno Galleries in late 2019.

Patricia Piccinini (b. 1965) is a renowned contemporary Australian artist whose work encompasses sculpture, installation, photography, video and drawing to examine the increasingly blurred boundary between the artificial and the natural and how this effects our relationship to our bodies, other people and creatures, and the environment. She began her career as co-founder of an artist-run space in Melbourne called the Basement Project, exhibiting and curating exhibitions there in 1994. Within a few years, she was exhibiting her original and visionary works in Tokyo and Peru. In 2002, she held major exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney. She represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 2003. Since then, Piccinini has shown her work in numerous significant museum and commercial solo and group exhibitions throughout the world. Most recently, she was honoured with a major exhibition that toured in Brazil in 2015-16 and a retrospective at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane in 2018.

Joy Hester (1920-1960) was a member of the group of artists in Melbourne known as the Angry Penguins. Her work is characterised by the fluent use of brush and ink on paper and an expressionistic approach to figuration. Hester was part of the ‘Heide circle’, and was particularly close to Sunday Reed who was something of a mentor to her. Unlike her male counterparts, she suffered a large degree of neglect as a female artist and as an artist who worked primarily with brush and ink. During her lifetime, Hester had three solo exhibitions: in 1950, 1953 and 1956. She was a foundation member of the Contemporary Art Society and exhibited often in its annual shows. In 1963 the Reeds curated a retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art and Design which they founded. In 1981 a survey of her work was shown at the National Gallery of Victoria and, in 2001, separate retrospective exhibitions of Hester’s work were held at the National Gallery of Australia and Heide Museum of Modern Art.

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