Australian shearing sheds
Christine Porter has been making artwork about shearing sheds since 1984, when she was governessing in North Queensland. As a full time professional artist a lot of her work is as a “serial artist in residence”. She is invited to sheep and cattle stations all over Queensland and New South Wales to create bodies of artwork that become like a portrait of the place at that time- providing her with an image and ideas base for her art practice. Projects can involve up to thirty paintings of the shearing sheds, other buildings and other subjects. Click on this link to see how to commission an artwork or project of your property image: Shed, 2009 watercolour on paper 75 x 30cm
“There’s a shed up the back you might be interested in…”
This shearing shed is typical of many that I make artwork about. It was built at a time when the sheep industry carried Australia on its back: when our wool warmed the world. Land use and markets have changed. Often, as the artist, I am the last one in before the bulldozers. My work describes the final shearing, the flock replaced by herd, the loss of respect for an industry that placed the Australian economy on the world stage. I meet people from the cities or coastal fringes and hear their mis-information and mis-understandings about agriculture and grazing. It is a gradual and inevitable amnesia that describes the true balance of power in a country that still needs to feed itself.
This work is not deliberately nostalgic. Its about real people, real places. It’s about how, despite those lifestyles being trivialised by mass media and hijacked by tourism, for so many Australians this is still home. Christine Porter 2009
image details: Storm 2009 (pictured) acrylic on board, 15x15cm, corporate collection, finalist Country Energy Prize for Landscape Painting.
recent painting series
To gain a broader understanding of Christine’s practice, scroll through the following pages which have images of most of the paintings in each series. If you visit Christine’s studio in East Lismore she has paintings from previous series that aren’t on this website. Contact her directly to book a studio visit to see these or any previous paintings.
Contact Christine for prices, availability or to purchase any paintings on this site.
Shadowing Tom, 2015-16
To be released in February 2017, this major body of work is about the shed at “Newstead” near Inverell, where Tom Roberts painted his iconic shearing shed painting: ” The Golden Fleece”. From sketches created summer 2014, Christine worked for two years on two series of paintings of the old and new sheds, creating a new suite of ten etchings ( engravings on perspex) and a series of mixed media wall sculptures. The work will be displayed on this site after the exhibition has been launched at the Inverell Art Gallery February 2017.
Once were Yards 2015
Western Queensland in winter 2014 was in the grip of drought that even now, at the time of writing, it has not really been released from. This series of paintings, from a property near Barcaldine, was created in the midst of this drought. But rather than concentrate on the horror of what I saw, and what these families have had to contend with for years now, I decided to simply pay attention to the buildings that, in their beauty, told of fortitude rather than despair. read more
“Ponds Creek” 100 years 2014
40 paintings of some of the buildings at “Ponds Creek”, a grazing properties on the New England Tablelands, in northern New South Wales. This series was created to celebrate the family’s 100 years on the place, with the work being exhibited as part of the four generations of farmers and graziers who’d gathered from across the country to celebrate their 100 year party. read more
Corrugated Iron Shed 2013
A small series of paintings of a shed west of Tenterfield and the concreted, corrugated iron tank behind it, near the yards, that became the focus for this body of work. read more
Woolshed on the Lachlan 2013
“Gulgo” is a sheep stud near Condobolin on the banks of the Lachlan River in the very central west of New South Wales. The 50 paintings that form this major series represents nearly twelve month’s work and were first exhibited at an 80th birthday party ( the sort of occasion when work and play nicely intersect). read more
An ongoing series of paintings and etchings collecting together images Christine has created of discarded, unused or museum-ed machinery. This collection not unlike many such collections Christine finds in “museum sheds” on her journey as artist-in-residence across Australia’s heartland. read more
The Spaces Between
“Sometimes, in the spaces between deliberate projects of shearing sheds, I see and feel an idea that is bigger than a particular site or image.” So writes the artist in regards to an ongoing series of paintings that describe both the physical relationship between shapes on the picture plane, and the moment when inspiration occurs while the everyday business of creating a body of work happens. read more
Sheep, Cattle and Horses
Periodically the subject of sheep or cattle presents itself and that tangent will be followed such as the Brahmans at “Roseneath” or the Sheep series from 2015 that were selected from various flocks around the state. Series include the acrylic sheep paintings from 2015, and the British breeds of sheep Christine made in the UK of the sheep she encountered there in 2007-8.