Australia, the land of green and gold, is home to a rich history of art culture that dates back to the traditional custodians of this land and their unique, organic depictions of their people and the Australian habitat around them. These artistic expressions took many forms, including paintings upon tree bark, flat rock surfaces or their bodies through the use of pigmented ochres, as well as rock carvings and sculptures that evolved into means of music, such as the didgeridoo, further evolving the culture of Australian Art. Here is a compilation of just few of the numerous Australian artists in focus throughout our country’s history including some of the remarkable Australian artists we support and sell at FINEPRINT co.
1. Emily Kngwarreye
One of Australia’s most successful indigenous artists is Emily Kngwarreye, born in Utopia, Northern Territory, 1910. Kngwarreye, despite not making a profession out of her talent until she was 80 years old, holds a place among the best widely due to the fact that her collection of pieces incorporates traditional indigenous styles intertwined with more modern styles of painting. The lively fusion of Aboriginal dot-painting and modern abstract techniques make for the perfect hybrid; a balance between keeping up with artistic trends yet paying tribute to her origins. During the early 1990’s, Kngwarreye went through what is known as her “high-colourist phase” in which her artworks could be characterised by intense, asperous configurations brought to life by bright magentas, vivid turquoises and lush greens, often depending on the ebb and flow of the Australian seasons.
2. Charles Blackman
Born in 1928, Sydney, and raised in Queensland, Blackman is one of the most recognised and renowned artists of Australia’s history. Leaving school at just 13 years old, Blackman went on to work as an illustrator for “Sun” Magazine and, although he was predominately self-taught, dedicated his nights to art classes at East Sydney Technical College. Even after Blackman was awarded an honorary doctorate and received critical acclaim for his Alice in Wonderland and Schoolgirl artwork series, Blackman continued to work various roles including a chef at a café managed by art dealer Georges Mora and wife Mirka. His most notable role however was signatory to the Antipodean Manifesto, a group of seven modern artists and art historian Bernard Smith who protested against Abstract Expressionism, a post-World War II style, and promoted figurative art, a more realistic style in which the artworks’ subjects derive from real objects. Blackman’s almost psychedelic art style has been equated to that of Picasso and Australian artist Sidney Nolan, landing him a collaboration series with yet another acclaimed Australian artist David Bromley that is exclusively available at FINEPRINT Co.
3. David Bromley
Despite being born in Sheffield, England, 1960, Bromley calls Australia home due to the fact he moved to Australia in 1964 to spend his childhood and teenage years in South-East Queensland mastering the art of sculpture and pottery. When he reached adulthood, he founded his professional career as a painter in Adelaide, South Australia. Bromley is currently best known for his paintings of simple yet striking portraits of nude women bathed in bright reds, turquoises and greens, as well as surreal, vibrant scenes of playing children and animals. During the early 2000’s, Bromley established an art studio in Daylesford, Victoria, while residing in St Kilda, Melbourne, where he developed his skills and impressive collection of iconic artworks for many years. However, in 2012, he relocated to Byron Bay and auctioned his extensive collection off at a Leonard Joel Auction in Prahal, Victoria. As a proponent of David Bromley, FINEPRINT Co proudly collaborates with and sells a wide variety of his stunningly unique artworks.
4. Goompi Ugerabah
Ugerabah, born in 1981 of Sri Lankan, South Sea Island, French, Scottish, Irish and Aboriginal descent, is yet another highly respected, partly-indigenous artist that expresses his connection with his Gurreng Gurreng origins as well as the traditional Australian culture through his intricately busy yet corporate artworks. When the European settlement arrived upon Australia, Uregabah’s great grandmother was relocated to the Ngnarangwal area, now called Gold Coast, where the last few generations of Uregabah’s family were born and raised. What sets Ugerabah apart from the other notable indigenous artists is the fact that his artworks revolve around a monochromatic palette rather than a simple red, yellow and white palette that of traditional ochre-comprised indigenous artworks. This gives his expansive collection a more corporate feel that is highly regarded and sought after. Despite the fact Ugerabah only made a career out of his unique painting skills in 2002, he has since been on the rise via exhibitions, performances and official events. Some of his most conspicuous achievements include opening the Steve Irwin Gala Dinner in Beverly Hills, California, managing his own dance group Bundjalung Kunjiel Dance Troupe that performs globally for people of influence and a remarkable collection of exhibitions across the continents including our very own Gallery One’s solo exhibition.
5. Frances “Fran” Miller
From Sydney, New South Wales, emerges one of Australia’s best-selling photographers. Being born and raised by the sea, Miller developed a fascination with photography in the deep blue when she took interest in her older sisters’ SLR film camera. However, despite the attraction to the water, Miller took up snowboarding, where she discovered that it was much more difficult for female competitors to gain sponsors than it was for the men. From there, she spent years dedicating her time and effort into mastering the art of capturing women in the fluctuating energies of Australian waters, which in return provided her the opportunity to eventually capture professional female swimmers and surfers as they practiced or competed. Some of Miller’s most recognisable subjects include Australian professional surfers Sally Fitzgibbons, Macy Callaghan and Belinda Baggs. By 2017, Miller was ranked 2nd best female surf photographer in the world by Tracks magazine and was also globally featured in the Women in Surf campaign by Canon. Through exhibiting her collection in festivals and showcases throughout Australia, New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Sydney, she gathered a public prominence and gained the attention of buyers including Ralph Lauren and several Wyndham hotels. Miller’s 2019 movements include collaborating with the AgUnity Foundation to photograph their World Food Programme project in Ethiopia. However, despite having connections with many significant clients, companies and campaigns, Miller is still best known for her Women in Surf: Fran Miller collection which highlights the more feminine, emotional essence of surfing rather than the action-based male coverage.
“Shooting men is more focused on the action of what they’re doing. Shooting women is much more about tapping into emotions.” - Fran Miller
6. Jo Olive
“My work is characterised by an enduring interest in the mapping of place, the fugitive nature of memory and the documentation of my emotional and historical connection to land.” - Jo Olive
From New South Wales comes the exclusive collection of contemporary artworks by Australian painter Jo Olive. Olive’s history practically begins with her impressive list of educational achievements beginning in 1995 through to 2004 including a Bachelor of Arts, Dean’s Honours List for Academic Excellence, Post-Modernism studies and an exchange program with Columbia University at the University of Melbourne, as well as a Graduate Diploma of Education in Visual Arts and Printmaking at the Southern Cross University. The style and energy of Olive’s works strongly centers around movements and actions that unearth hidden textures and colours within an artwork, in addition to the reliance on working from memory. She achieves this dance of repeating the process of losing and gaining by etching, scratching and sanding different layers of her paintings to reveal each tier of her masterpieces and what they have to offer. Generally working with mild yet contrasting palettes of charcoals, chalky off-whites and muted blues, the sense of a thought-provoking serenity is brought to life through the use of rounded, mildly soft shapes counterbalanced by the business and humming energy of many intertwining lines. Her trademark style has allowed her to excel through her career which includes being owner of Olive & The Volcano Paper Goods, co-owner of Olive Letterpress and Sugar Mill Studio, co-founder of Hey Maker Art Collective, Arts Teacher at Mt St Patricks Secondary School and Wade High School as well as a workshop host in printmaking, letterpress, bookmaking and creative business.
7. James Ainslie
Born in South Australia, 1950, Ainslie is a certain hidden gem within Australia’s rich history of artists. Having grown up around Coorong, South Australia, Ainslie’s childhood memories are built upon the golden sandy slopes and slow, fluctuating blues of the Murray River, which proved to embed themselves into his creative code and be revitalised through his modern-realism artworks as he grew. These paintings of Australian landscapes and lifestyles have been showcased throughout the country as well as overseas since 1975, though his career began to rise when he was one of six artists invited to represent South Australia in London, had an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Art in Pasadena, U.S.A, and peaked in 1990 when he was awarded the Camberwell Flora and Fauna Prize. Although he was regularly taking up residence in the cardinal soils of Ayers Rock and makes annual trips to Broome, Kakadu and The Kimberly, Ainslie now resides in Noosa to incorporate the vivid, pristine shores of Fraser Island within his newest artworks. To date, Ainsley has a total of an outstanding 48 solo exhibitions, 22 prizes or nominations and has private collections in England, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Japan, Ireland, the U.S.A., Canada and Thailand.
“As an artist my paintings are often a direct result of a location. It is the colours, textures, smells, patterns, in fact the essence of a place that inspires my Images. The interpretation may be realistic, but often may develop more abstractly.” - James Ainsley
8. Sir Sidney Nolan
Sir Sidney Nolan, born in working-class suburb Carlton, Victoria, 1917, is possibly Australia’s most known and renowned artists of all time. At a young age, Nolan and his family relocated to St Kilda, Melbourne, where he attended Brighton Road State School and Brighton Technical School before leaving school entirely at just 14 years old. From there, he began a part-time course in the Department of Design and Crafts at the Prahran Technical College before working as an amateur advertiser in Abbotsford for a total of six years. After marrying and divorcing first wife, graphic designer Elizabeth Paterson, he joined the Angry Penguins during the 1940’s, an Australian literary and artistic avant-garde movement in which he painted the front cover for their magazine published in 1944. His artistic identity snowballed as he developed his style, gaining major publicity through the use of having historical and legendary figures as his paintings’ subjects.
Nolan became known for his depictions and interpretations of Australian legend, outlaw and bushranger Ned Kelly. Although Nolan passed in 1992, his legacy survives through his achievements and influence, including his 1981 Knight Bachelor for service to art, an Order of Merit in 1983 when he relocated to Herefordshire and the establishment of the Sidney Nolan Trust in 1985 that provides exhibition spaces for himself and other artists at The Rodd, Herefordshire. Nolan was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1988 and member of the Royal Academy of Arts.
9. Kate Bergin
Yet another Australian artist that FINEPRINT Co supports and works in collaboration with is the offbeat, supremely talented Kate Bergin. Bergin grew up in Mornington Peninsula, and by 1992, had graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts, St Kilda, Melbourne, where she studied and nurtured her passion for painting. The College would go on to purchase several of Bergin's artworks for their 100 year anniversary exhibition.
After leaving the college, Bergin spent her days in Cairns, Queensland, exploring and studying the genre of painting still-life while developing an interest in hunting and collecting. Her first most notable works were of hoards of insects, objects and fruit on a rippled white sheet for a background, but her fascination for taxidermy had her moving on to painting larger and more exotic animals. She gained access to the Museum of Victoria's storerooms while also using live animals at Australian zoos for references, as well as growing her own collection of taxidermy animals at her studios. Although her spectacularly unique oil paintings of articulated animals upon white-clothed display tables is her signature style, what further sets her collection apart from the majority of still-life artists is the continuing presence of spectacles, dial telephones and spoons that add a feel of absurdity and a fairytale-like experience to remind us of life's unpredictability.
FINEPRINT Co was fortunate enough to have Bergin visit where she revealed that although her subjects are animals of past times, she wants her viewers to focus on the life and soul still present within them; the birds upon her canvas ready to take flight once more and the lively gleam within the animals eyes. Now residing on the Sunshine Coast with husband and artist Mark Stewart and their children, Bergin embraces and takes inspiration from the abundance of wildlife across the coast.
10. Pamela Honeyfield
“I don’t always have set rules for painting, the work will often dictate my next move and as we enter this dance and relationship, I allow the colour and the movement of marks and shapes to play and interact. There are many variables when creating a work and you have to be willing to lose and regain images until it’s resolved." - Pamela Honeyfield
Stationed within Sydney, Honeyfield is the skilled Australian artist behind her highly-recognisable and vast collection of earthy, abstract contemporary artworks. From 1989 - 1991, Honeyfield excelled at her Diploma in Fine Art at the National Art School at Darlinghurst, Sydney, before completing a Masters in Art Therapy three years later from 1994 - 1995 at the University of Western Sydney Nepean. Working predominantly from loose memories of locations she has been in, Honeyfield relies on the palettes, textures and forms embedded within her mind that are brought back to life through her oil paintings on linen canvas. The general style of Honeyfield's collection is extremely consistent; a plethora of textured segments of various colours accompanying rough strokes of oil pastels that unite to create a fragmented, abstract representation of the location and it's energies. Her distinctive work has captured the attention of many galleries and competition holders including our own Corporate Art and Gallery One, Fairfax, Art Gallery on Darling, the Moree Gallery and most notably the prestigious Allen Arthur Robinson Collection. In addition to a stunning list of represented and associated galleries, Honeyfield's works have landed her a total of seven publications, eight solo exhibitions and ten art awards or finalist positions, including The Blake Prize, The Paddington Art Prize, NSW Parliament Plein Air and the Pro Hart Broken Hill Outback Art Prize. Her highest achievements include the 2014 and 2015 Gosford Regional Gallery Art Prize for her painting "Dusk Falls Across The Flinders."