|the colonels wife 1976|
|the crop 1976|
|piece to walk around 1981|
|step through 1980|
|inland sea 1986|
|aerial view 1988|
|all that jazz 1989|
|all that glisters 1990|
|sweet lovers 1991|
|clouds 1 (cloud series) 1992|
|suddenly the lake 1995|
|the orangery 1999|
Rosalie Gascoigne :: 1917 - 1999
Gascoigne was born in New Zealand in 1917. She studied at the University of Auckland for a Bachelor of Arts degree, specialising in English and Latin. It was here she met her future husband Ben Gascoigne and after a short term of teaching she moved to Australia where she got married and settled down to having a family.
The Gascoignes moved to a small and isolated scientific community around Mt Stromlo Observatory outside Canberra, where Ben was working. Coming from the lush, green landscape of New Zealand to the hard, unforgiving, dry scape of Mount Stromlo, which was bounded by what seemed an endless and empty space, was almost an unbearable an unsatisfying experience for Rosalie.
She was not a happy housewife as expected of this era. Rosalie was a restless soul and yearned for more than that role could offer her.
She was unable relate to the other wives in the community and spent much of her time there alone. She turned to her environment for some sort of stimulation befriending nature with her children she would explore her surroundings examining every natural and manmade resource that was around her.
She began to collect unusual natural and other objects with her children whilst on driving and walking trips. She would display them inside her home like artwork. When she moved into Canberra off the mountain she studied Ikebana and learnt the principles of arrangement which she eventually applied to her found objects.
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"Your art has to come out of your daily life. I really believe that if anyone is born an artist they’ve only got to look at what’s round their feet and what’s available to them. They don’t have to be clever, they don’t have to go to art school, they don’t have to get the exotic stuff – make it with what’s there. People think art’s like you strike it lucky and you’re famous tomorrow, but it isn’t like that, it’s a search for honesty on your own terms. The journey to self-recognition took me decades." Vici MacDonald, Rosalie Gascoigne, Regaro Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1998, p. 9 *1
".. I’d push the children’s prams around that lonely mountain until I knew the shape of every stone and tree, the texture of every patch of dirt and grass, the colour of every leaf and weed. I’d gaze down at the valley below, a vastness of dry blond grass and grubby sheep and the sky used to hang, from there to there." Janet Hawley ‘A late developer’, Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend, 15 November 1997, p. 40 *1
"Rosalie spent a lot of time exploring Mount Stromlo and the wider area of the Monaro region, becoming intimate with these environments and collecting raw materials and found objects. Many writers commented on how something of the essence of these spaces was captured in her assemblages of objects." *2
"I’m always trying to make a serious statement of some sort. I only notice when I see my work with other things its sober look. I do not really like the comic element. I don’t mind a sort of hidden whimsy—not a word I like—but I want it to look almost like a classical work of art, whatever material I use. If I use an undignified article, I have to get a sort of dignity or beauty out of it." James Gleeson, Rosalie Gascoigne, 8 February 1980 *3
Rosalie Gascoigne is one of Australia’s most respected contemporary artists. She first exhibited her art
in 1974 at the age of 57.
Her career spanned 25 years during which time her work was exhibited widely both in Australia and internationally until her death in 1999.
In 1982, she was the first Australian Female Artist to be chosen to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale.
Her artwork continues to enthral and inspire generations of Australian Artists, Designers and
the general public.
LinksAn interview (audio)
National Gallery of Australia