Monday, July 11, 2011

Rosalie Gascoigne

Anyone who has grown up or driven through rural Australia would be familiar with the source material of Rosalie Gascoigne (1917 - 1989). Her work reflects a fascination with collecting diverse but seemingly coherant found objects. Her meticulous study and practice of ikebana meant that her translation of these pieces into works of art became an elevated form of assemblage. From being the wife of an astronomer/professor living on Mount Stromlo she rose to fame at the age of 57. Her pieces featured in the Venice Biennale and she received an Order of Australia as recognition for her creative genius.

Her found materials consisted of items such as road signs; wooden Schweppes drink cartons, sheets of galvanised iron, even discarded boxes. The beauty of her work was reflected in the symmetry of the layout of her installations. Quite often signs would be interlaced with illegible words but in the same colour and font from reconstituted signage. The repetition of form in her pieces says more about the interpretation of her work than the value of the individual components.  Her found material was particularly favoured if it had been exposed to the elements and showed fading or slight decay. She was an early adaptor of the green practices of the new millennium but without the spin!  

Image: Rosalie Gascoigne | Australia 1917–99 | Lamp lit 1989 | Retro-reflective road signs on hardwood | 183 x 183cm | Purchased 1990. Mrs JR Lucas Estate in memory of her father John Robertson Blane | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery |

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