Shadowing Tom exhibition
Inverell Art Gallery Feb-Mar 2017

EXHIBITION 'Shadowing Tom' Inverell Art Gallery Feb25-Mar26 2017

Short description of exhibition


Installation view
Gallery of images of opening night party
Copy of words of didactics with some highlight paintings or complete gallery from each body of work.
Link to blogs – leading up to and thankyou notes.

Images from different types of work- either categories or links to the other pages.

Fame and fortune

Articles about this exhibition were published several magazines:
– the international watercolour magazine The Art of Watercolour, distributed worldwide, published in English and French
– The Australian Artist Vol? Summer2017
– The digital magazine Verandah Read Article 
– The lifestyle magazine  Border Living 
and many comments in newspapers, magazines and local radio

The artwork

  • This was an exhibition in three parts.
  • series of paintings of the two sheds on “Newstead” describing what the sheds look like now.
  • a multi-media piece about how it felt to be there  in the most famous shearing shed in Australian art history.
  • a selection of paintings drawn from projects in other parts of NSW and Qld.

Painting “Newstead”

Shadowing Tom

In Tom’s Shadow

Watercolour paintings from various projects in Queensland and New South Wales.
Of all the paintings that Tom Roberts created in his career, he is perhaps best known for his large scale allegorical works “Shearing the Rams” and “The Golden Fleece”. People from beyond the art world, and beyond the sheep and wool industries, know these two paintings. It’s like he started the genre of shed paintings (and reached its pinnacle all in the same breath). When I say I make artwork about shearing sheds, the usual response is “oh, like Tom Roberts…” I’ve spent 30 years learning how to come out from his shadow to carve my own place within this genre.

I painted my first shearing shed in 1984. Since then I’ve painted nearly 100 different sheds from Tasmania to Mt Isa. It’s the mainstay of my practice. When I visit a property, I’m mainly interested in the shearing shed. I love the iconic nature of the building and the inherent beauty of the architecture. I love the how it’s an exercise in abstract shapes and line.

However it becomes a more complete story of the property when I make artwork about the other buildings there too. I’ve painted also– and not in any order of importance – hayshed, dairy, ram shed, bowsers, tobacco barn, meathouse, sawmill, tack room, museum shed, machinery shed, tractor shed, cat shed (for the caterpillar) car shed, barn, toolshed, pumpshed, blacksmith’s shop, stables.

This collection of paintings talks of the diversity of purpose-built architecture found across rural Australia. It’s about how each place has it’s own regional elements, and each its own individuality.

It’s important for me that there is integrity of place – that it looks like it is.

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. It’s 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.