Removing the Traces


Opening night

Friday, 22 December 2017


On show

Until 4 February 2018

Closed for Christmas

25 December 2017 until 4 January 2018

Gallery hours

10am – 4pm

Thursday – Monday


Removing the Traces

There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.

Pablo Picasso

This exhibition presents intriguing aspects of south-west landscape from the Janet Holmes à Court Collection. The works included individually demonstrate varying degrees and methods of abstraction e.g. ultra-simplification, gestural and expressive brushwork, flattening of the picture surface and saturated colour, whilst maintaining the formal principles of line, form, shape, value, movement and composition. The real subjects recede and the aesthetics become the dominant factors.

Within this abstract landscape of the exhibition, there are interjections of reality – ‘real’ trees and wildflowers. Important that these remain in the space as reminders because it seems to me that we are busy still doing our best to remove forests and flora as fast as industry and developers can manage it. Prudent to slow down and think about the reality we’ll be left with.

Also occurring occasionally in the exhibition are demonstrations of Aboriginal longstanding presence. Removing the traces of the reality of aboriginal presence and ownership of country was pretty easy to do under the legal mandate of terra nullius. This was followed up by forced dispossession, imprisonment, extermination, assimilation and suppression of truth. A deliberate and sustained abstraction of our history took place. We managed to remove all traces of a particular reality and maintained only the essentials of the history suited to our purposes. These days, ever so slowly, the reality of this history is being reconstituted.

The purpose of this exhibition is to share some significant and captivating abstract works from the collection, works representing the essence of land, forest and water. I hope I’ve created a calm and meditative space which gives room for reflection.


Sharon Tassicker

Collection and Exhibitions Manager

Janet Holmes a Court Collection

Image credit: Guy Grey-Smith, Karri Trees, 1979, oil on canvas on board, 122.3 x 111.5 cm. Copyright Guy Grey-Smith.