about

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Sydney Studio (photo Greg Weight )

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Not often do art and science share the painted surface so intimately.

Australian Artists*. (Chapter & Verse)
an ‘important record of many of Australia’s creative masters’* — Pat Corrigan

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BIO    
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Born Gilgandra, NSW Australia
Lives and works Sydney, NSW Australia

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Gaye Chapman is an Australian contemporary visual artist | painter of international standing. Her figurative abstract paintings, framed by ritual, are a process-driven creation + destruction of realism that forces the work back into the abstract contemporary context. She holds a PhD in Contemporary Art – painting by research – from the University Western Sydney for her cross-disciplinary science | art studio practice and research into the decay of exotic weed species. She also holds a Masters degree in Visual Art and Design – painting by research – from the University of New England. She first studied fine art – painting – at The National Art School Wollongong

Chapman has many major art prizes, scholarships, residencies, collections, commissions and exhibitions to her name, in Australia and overseas, including multiple selected finalist in the: Sir John Sulman, Kedumba Drawing Award, Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, Waterhouse Natural History, Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Doug Moran Portrait, Portia Geach Memorial Award, Fleurieu Biennale Landscape, John Glover Landscape, Blake Prize for Religious Art and Archibald Prize Salon des Refusés national art prizes. Her Self Portrait Staring Into Light won selection in the Archibald Prize Salon des Refusés 2006, Portia Geach Memorial Award finalist in 2006 and Doug Moran Portrait Prize finalist in 2007.  She was appointed Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Artist in Residence in 2006. In 2009 and 2010 the  State Library of NSW purchased over two decades of her aggregated paintings and drawings on paper for the Mitchell Library  Collection . She was appointed Artist in Residence + Honorary Associate with the Macleay Museum of Natural History Sydney University in 2010

Chapman’s work references the visual languages of historic manuscripts; botanical, scientific and geographic. Her paintings are a palimpsest of multi-layered experiences, their surfaces punctuated with experimental painting | drawing techniques, traditional painting | drawing media, and the Australian landscape of her bush childhood . She spent her childhood at Mendooran in Central Western New South Wales, on the banks of the Castlereagh River. Her amateur geologist father, Peter Chapman, took his children on pilgrimages – in particular into the outback gibber deserts – collecting, observing, and identifying rocks, insects, fish, bird and plant specimens; and conducting archeological shard digs in the historic remnants of white settlement – white man’s middens

Chapman has travelled widely through outback Australia, drawing throughout the Northern Territory mainland and islands. For the past two decades her work has focused on regular working expeditions and research on the Castlereagh River in Central and Far Western NSW – her childhood ritual games site – and aspects of the adjacent Goonoo country.  In recent years she has incorporated the opal mining country around Lightning Ridge in Far Western New South Wales; where her father had an opal mine. This intense connection with the land is integral to her painting. Chapman’s work often has long titles, using scientific, botanical and textual references that allow insights to oscillate from the particular to the universal

 

ARTIST STATEMENT    
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My paintings are an eternal obsessive ritualistic search, through figurative abstraction, to try to capture|recapture a ‘smell’ or ‘sense’ of  a site-specific Time and place. The works are both memento-mori and my drive, over decades, to incarnate the temporal nature of Time + Sublime Beauty in paint. Destruction, as both subject and studio process, is a conduit for the artists making, it drives a tension between a desire for figurative detail and the immediate urge to abstract|destroy that perfection: the creation and destruction of multilayered glazed surfaces are ways of making and unmaking the journey from form to trace.

My idée fixe lies in the life, death and decay cycle(s) of a largely natural history|botanical world; in particular the exotic, invasive and outsider ‘weed’ species of the Castlereagh River system of my outback childhood. I paint always from a map-perspective – the overview seen from climbing high up in trees

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the website of artist Gaye Chapman. ©2013 Gaye Chapman