Rubus fruticosis: blackberry | drawing

Rubus fruticosis: Blackberry
mixed media + mud + river water on acid-free cotton rag  watercolour paper
297 x 297 mm (1 of  100 x drawing studies)


… painter Gaye Chapman presents a monumental vision …

— Lenny Ann Low. The Sydney Morning Herald
Arts reviewer. former arts critic The Sun Herald and The Sydney Morning Herald



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[bibliographic details:    ]



‘The word ‘landscape’ divorces us from the guts of ‘land’ – the looping canes of feral blackberries cut your skin. This painting is full of holes and ghosts; about what is, and yet is not: waterholes | rabbit holes | yabby holes in mud | water – brown and hot as tea | holes in yabby nets | holes in the years that slipped | from wild blackberries and blood ties and ‘going yabbying’ and bare feet in hot dust. | A bush of ghosts | my brothers and me | flannelette shirts | shearers at the pub roaring on pay night | blood red | and the big black sky of stars.’

— Gaye Chapman. Artist’s Statement. Paddington Art Prize Online
[finalist work: Redneck Pink: yabby-net-waterhole + ghosts]

‘[The Paddington Art Prize is] awarded annually for a painting inspired by the Australian landscape […] the Paddington Art Prize takes its place among the country’s most lucrative and highly coveted painting prizes. The prize encourages the interpretation of the landscape as a significant contemporary genre, its long tradition in Australian painting as a key contributor to our national ethos. Finalists: Gaye Chapman et al … ’

— Art Almanac Online
[finalist work: Redneck Pink: yabby-net-waterhole + ghosts]

The [Black Swan Prize for Portraiture] has 40 finalists from more than 220 entries. Stand-outs include … Gaye Chapman’s self-portrait.’
‘The $50,000 City of Perth Black Swan Prize for Portraiture … Director Tina Wilson … likened the joint awards to the conjunction of the Archibald portraiture prize and the Wynne landscape prize. ’

— Stephen Bevis, The West Australian
[finalist work: Bloodshot Nocturne: me + my talismans]

‘Gaye Chapman’s work is truly moving.’

— Tina Wilson. Executive Director ARTrinsic Inc. Black Swan Prize for Portraiture
[finalist work: Bloodshot Nocturne: me + my talismans]

‘The King’s School Art Prize … is famous for being one of the most prestigious and selective shows of it’s kind in Australia … The award is a $15,000 acquisitive art prize … awarded to the painting judged the best contemporary painting, painted by an artist resident in Australia and represented by an Australian commercial gallery … The 2012 King’s School Art Prize consists of some of Australia’s most exciting contemporary artists. 2012 will be one of our finest groups to date … Finalists: Gaye Chapman. All This Useless Beauty III, Charles Hewitt Gallery Sydney. et al …  ’

— The King’s School Art Prize Online
[work: All This Useless Beauty III]

‘Gaye Chapman is a finalist in three major national art prizes this year: the Black Swan Portrait Prize, the Portia Geach Memorial Award Touring Exhibition and the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing.’
‘Gaye Chapman has been selected as a Finalist in the King’s School Art Prize 2012’

— Kimberley Hirst. National Association for the Visual Arts [NAVA] News eBulletin
[works: Bloodshot Nocturne: me + my talismans; Big Black Goonoo + Ghosts: banksia marginate. (multi-panel x 16); All This Useless Beauty III ]

‘Portia Geach Memorial Award: The annual award exhibition for portraiture by contemporary Australian women artists. The award […] displays selected entries from artists across the nation representing diversity in contemporary portraiture. The award is recognised as one of the most important celebrations of the talents and creativity of Australian female portrait painters and has played a major role in developing the profile of the nation’s women artists.’

— Jane Watters. S.H. Ervin Gallery Exhibitions. NT Magazine. National Trust
[finalist work: Bloodshot Nocturne: me + my talismans]

‘Women’s Work: … There is a confessional side to self-portraiture, from Dolan’s Can Can boots … to Gaye Chapman’s worries about glaucoma. The self-portrait is the artist’s answer to the personal memoir, which is one of the growth areas of world literature.’

— John McDonald. The Sydney Morning Herald and Online
Art Critic. former Head of Australian Art, National Gallery of Australia
[Portia Geach Memorial Award finalist work: Bloodshot Nocturne: me + my talismans]

‘Gaye Chapman has been selected as a Finalist in the Portia Geach Memorial Award 2011’

— Kimberley Hirst. National Association for the Visual Arts NAVA eNews
[work: Bloodshot Nocturne: me + my talismans]

‘I will always regard [ Gaye Chapman’s ] exhibitions as two of the best I ever put on.’

— Michael Nagy. (ephemera)
Art Dealer. former Director Michael Nagy Fine Art Gallery, Sydney
[exhibitions: Glitter: sentimental pretty ugly; MOTH: the nature of transience exhibition]

‘Mike banks cites his on-going art journey and inspiration coming from such mentors as Jackson Pollock, US graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, … and of course the fascinating, complex work by Australian artists such as Lloyd Rees, Gaye Chapman, and John Beard.’

— Mike Banks. Moving Canvas Art Gallery Online
Director. Moving Canvas Art Gallery, Brisbane

‘[Portia Geach Memorial Award] … portraits of men or women distinguished in Art, Letters and Sciences. This award is for portraiture by contemporary Australian women artists. On Sunday … Artist’s Ann Cape, Sophie Cape and Gaye Chapman will talk about their paintings and art practice at the SH Ervin Gallery.’

— Simone Whetton. ABC702 Radio Sydney
[finalist work: Bloodshot Nocturne: me + my talismans]

‘Symbolic Imagery: Gaye Chapman. Bloodshot Nocturne: me and my talismans staring into a brown study. (Self Portrait). What symbols has the artist used, consciously or intuitively, to communicate her ideas? How has she referenced her childhood and the link to her father? How has the artist carried forward the influences and landscape of her early environment? What spiritual connections are maintained through the talismans?’

— Simon Power. Portia Geach Memorial Award 2011 Education Kit. National Trust SH Ervin Gallery
Manager. National Centre for Creative Learning, Museum of Contemporary Art [MCA], Sydney
[finalist work: Bloodshot Nocturne: me + my talismans]

‘Gaye Chapman was shortlisted for an award last year … The 30-year veteran visual artist … went on to win the 2009 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award … ’

— Audrey Raj. The Courier-Mail Newspaper (Brisbane)

‘Selected Visual Research Papers: Gaye Chapman’s visual research explored and documented the ethno-botany, of native, exotic and weed species plants growing in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, with emphasis upon their roles in witchcraft, medicine, folklore & magic. Though existing Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney research papers do contain such material it is minimal, often buried within broader themes and does not cover weed species. The selected/donated papers seek to assist in bridging these gaps.’

— (ed.) Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Library
[papers re works: Botanomancy. l00 x ethno-botanical paintings]

‘Smart with Art: Original works provide an added layer of interest … Artworks by Gaye Chapman highlight a space […] done while she was Artist in Residence at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, the series blends paintings of plants with figures from mythology.’
— Jebby Phillips. Country Home Ideas magazine and Online
[works: Botanomancy series]

 ‘Gaye Chapman. Aggregated collection of artwork and drawings, 1990-2010: Born in Gilgandra in 1953 and raised in Mendooran, Gaye Chapman has widely exhibited artwork throughout Australia and overseas. She has exhibited and won prizes and awards for the Blake, Sulman, Fleurieu, Kedumba and Waterhouse Natural History art prizes.’

— Louise Anemaat. State Library of New South Wales Online
Curator. Manuscripts, Oral History & Pictures. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
[works: Aggregated collection of artwork and drawings. Collection II]

‘New Acquisition: A stunning collection of children’s artwork … We have recently acquired an almost complete archive of Chapman’s original artwork produced for The School Magazine, dating up to 2008. Chapman has exhibited widely throughout Australia and overseas, and has been a finalist in a number of major art prizes, including the Sulman and Blake. Her bush childhood at Mendooran, NSW, has inspired much of her art. Travel experiences in places like Indonesia and Morocco are also expressed in her vibrant images. Chapman works in a great variety of materials — watercolours, acrylics and gouaches — and often uses objects such as feathers, grass, twigs and knitting to help tell the story. She creates highly original, technically accomplished collages by cutting and pasting her paintings to create larger works. The Library has acquired over 260 School Magazine artworks by Gaye Chapman, including colour cover designs and internal illustrations. Reflecting the magazine’s diversity of themes, Chapman’s … work is used to illustrate many classic and contemporary stories, poetry and plays from Australia and around the world.
[The School Magazine] has always had an Australian flavour, traversing the richness, breadth and quality of children’s literature and illustration. This quality is evident in Chapman’s archive, expanding the magazine’s role to include teaching visual literacy to schoolchildren.’

— Louise Anemaat. State Library New South Wales SL Magazine. Library Council of NSW
Curator. Manuscripts, Oral History & Pictures. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
[works: Aggregated collection of artwork and drawings. Collection I]

‘Gaye Chapman is an award winning Australian fine artist-painter … of international standing. She holds a PhD in Contemporary Art, and has many major art prizes, scholarships, residencies, collections and exhibitions to her name, including multiple selected finalist in Australia’s Sulman, Blake and Archibald Salon des Refusés national Australian art prizes. Chapman’s acclaimed picture books have been published in Australia, New Zealand, Korea and the USA, and her children’s artwork exhibited at Bologna Italy and Frankfurt Germany.’

— Mathew Ambromowitz. Storyopolis Gallery USA Online
CEO Storyopolis Global Entertainment USA. former Director, Storyopolis Gallery, Los Angeles, USA and The 4th Wall Gallery, Texas, USA
[exhibition: Kaito’s Cloth]

‘Finalists Chosen for Australia’s Richest Portrait Prize: The 30 finalists for the 2007 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.[…]. The judges of this year’s competition were Messrs Alan Dodge, the Director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Chair of the Council of Australian Art Museum Directors and Adam Cullen, a prominent Australian artist … The Moran Prizes attracted a record number of more than 4,500 entries this year. Finalists: NSW – Gaye Chapman ‘Self Portrait – Staring into Light’. et al … ‘

— Vanessa Bond. The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize Media Diary Alert Online
Manager, Media & Communications, State Library of New South Wales
[work: Self Portrait – staring into light]

‘Gaye Chapman Artist in Residence: The [Botanomancy] exhibition presents selected works representing mythological themes. Botanomancy cross-fertilizes fine + illustrative art practices in 100 mythological paintings for children through research into the mythologies of The Garden’s living plant collection and inspiration from old botanical books, illustrations and manuscripts held in the Gardens archives.
The works are drawn from one year of ethno-botanical research into the fables, folklore, myths, legends, traditions and histories behind 100 chosen plants growing in the Gardens. Like pages torn from an imaginary herbal or magical plant book – an ancient Botanica Magica Herbaria – Botanomancy uses mixed media + synthetic polymers + gold leaf in cross-disciplinary paintings that continue Chapman’s obsession with botany and childhood, and extend her growing interest in the interrogation of existing paradigms between fine art and the sentimental image.’

— Tony Martin. Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. (ephemera)
Honorary Research Associate. Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust
[exhibition: Botanomancy]

In response to Gaye Chapman’s ‘Decompose’

Somewhere between stasis and nullity
there is a flash
a moment of omniscience

In the cave of the dead
senses shroud
and the body wears viscera like a shawl
incandescent, swaddling the past

From melting flesh, a sightless spirit seeps
amoebic, incorporeal
ascends the stony stairway
seeking the black void beyond infinity

— Sheryl Persson. Ekphrasis Exhibition Catalogue and Online
Poet; Educator; Writer
[works: Decompose series]

The Butterfly Effect
(after Decompose, by Gaye Chapman)

Is the moon not there unless I can see it?
Back home, but never back,
     exploding like ectoplasm
across the empty rooms,
     the decomposed gardens.

Old responsibilities, seasons
     rise up, numinous
as Christmas ghosts, this space
     that once took us in.

For the cabbage nymph, or neophyte,
     it’s chaos theory.
Dust on the snooker balls
     might change

the moment of collision,
     the dense stars wheeling
in the firmament,
     or the response.

— Margaret Bradstock. Ekphrasis Exhibition Catalogue and Online; and Mascara Literary Review, Mascara Poetry Inc. Online
Poet; Editor; Critic. Honorary Visiting Fellow University of NSW. former Co-Editor Five Bells journal, Poets Union (NSW)
[works: Decompose series]

(after Glitter: III, Gaye Chapman 2006)

English sparrow firmly planted
in an oriental garden, palaces
runaway lovers
fishing-boats & waterways
a willow-patterned past.

Today’s Chinese lovers
have their own apartments,
rock-bands & fast-fade jeans,
Western imperialism
in a different groove.

You can still buy the crockery
in Woolies, or any downtown
Chinese grocery store.

— Margaret Bradstock. Ekphrasis Exhibition Catalogue and Online
Poet; Editor; Critic. Honorary Visiting Fellow University of NSW. former Co-Editor Five Bells journal, Poets Union (NSW)
[works: Glitter series]

(after Glitter: II, Gaye Chapman 2006)

In our grandmothers’ gardens
pansies or pensées
grow down to the dark earth
filigrees of lace, of decay,
frenetic love
or never-ending effort.

Memento-mori hangs
from the wrought-iron tree,
a devil’s head
always with us, his face
a pained mask, no matter
how we impose our art.

— Margaret Bradstock. Ekphrasis Exhibition Catalogue and Online
Poet; Editor; Critic. Honorary Visiting Fellow University of NSW. former Co-Editor Five Bells journal, Poets Union (NSW)
[works: Glitter series]

after All This Useless Beauty III, by Gaye Chapman

All this useless beauty
that bleeds into me
comes from you.

In this vehicle
we’re carrying a ghost
like a passenger
from one mind
to another

you come
as though there were no other
with joy in your eyes
you turn your voice low
and speak to me

this is all we can be
bright and perfect
attracting travellers
to the very core
of us.

All this useless beauty
that bleeds into me
comes from you.

— Robert Kennedy. Ekphrasis Exhibition Catalogue and Online
Poet; Composer. Manager, DiVerse Australian arts group
[work: All This Useless Beauty III]

A response to All This Useless Beauty II by Gaye Chapman

Only you hurt.
There is no way we can know
where you’ve been or why
but we are here now standing
around you you will not fall
we can show you the way
to strength you always knew you had.

It’s been a long time since
the wounded animal took shelter
curled tightly around itself unreachable.
Perhaps it will still die. It’s hard
standing on your own. Even harder leaning.
Try placing your feet together here
at the end of the circle look up towards
the middle take the first step
one very slow step into the spiral
each curve will comfort the echo of your tears
each chamber chart your growth
you will never be alone.

feather light come come move on
we have had all the time in the world
we know how long it takes to form
to build rebuild ourselves over and over
until no-one would ever guess that we have
finally reached our beginning
retraced everything we knew loved trusted
the courage templates of our being
with the same touch that leads you
every inch however long it takes
around getting stronger
around forgetting everything
around remembering nothing
letting go
coming out of your shell.

Carolyne Bruyn. Ekphrasis Exhibition Catalogue and Online
Poet. DiVerse Australian arts group
[work: All This Useless Beauty II]

Gaye Chapman. All This Useless Beauty I

All that useless beauty
painting and poetry, their seeds
like old gods uncovered
from the rocky earth
whispering forgotten words.
You taste them on the tongue
as abandonment splatters
a sudden smudge of red.
Hearing the words
that trigger other senses
in a hybrid version
of vision and hearing
prickly pear tinged purple
takes one small step for turquoise
one giant leap for grey.
You hold to alchemy
catalyst for colouring the words
and from realms of possibility
comes all the useless beauty you can bear.

— Paula McKay. Ekphrasis Exhibition Catalogue and Online
Poet. DiVerse Australian arts group
[work: All This Useless Beauty I]

‘I found myself outside a long, low building with a slanted glass ceiling that looked very much like a greenhouse. Columns of 1ft x 1ft paintings hung in rows throughout the space. It was the Botanomancy exhibit from the Royal Botanic Garden’s artist residency program … artist, Gaye Chapman. A painter … with a deep interest in all things botanical, she explained her work as a culmination of all those elements. The resulting series of botanical paintings for children collaged the lore, mythology and history of Australian plants and herbs with characters and symbols drawn from the stuff of fairy-tales. Each canvas was dedicated to one plant, an herb or tree with historical information about its usage. The plant’s cultural lineage was printed on the back. … We started talking about Bunyas and plants and trees and Australian flora and research projects and art … she knows exactly the highly addictive nature of this kind of research: asking a question of an object or an idea and following the connective threads wherever they lead. The impulse to ask questions like that means that the object in question almost doesn’t matter; it is the pleasure of asking and following that is so addictive. Yes, yes, yes. She agreed to talk to me about her work on camera next week; I’m very excited to hear what she has to say.’

— Mary C. Wilson. Field Notes from Australia. The Bunya Archives Online
Former Lecturer, California College of the Arts, USA. former Curator, San Mateo County Historical Museum, USA
[works: Botanomancy series]

‘The Concept of Emergence in Generative Art: The idea becomes a machine that makes the art. (Sol LeWitt). Generative art represents a particularly intriguing interaction between art and science. Generative art refers to any art practice where the artist uses a system, such as a set of natural language rules, a computer program, a machine, or other procedural invention, which is then set into motion with some degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed work of art. (Galanter 2003).
Although computers have come to dominate generative art…many works that fit Galanter’s definition do not use computers, or even machines … Artworks that change in time need not be computer-based, or even motorised … Artists have also constructed artworks that decay; in a recent example, the painter Gaye Chapman incorporated actual weeds into her paintings: “Weeds invade landscape; their decay invades canvas as I invade the resulting imagery with my own marks. The canvas becomes a self-devouring microcosm where weeds and time are the medium. I use destruction as creation, the paintings sabotage the fine art process of conservation, and they themselves will decompose”. (ArtsConnect 2004).’

— Gordon Monro. The Concept of Emergence in Generative Art. Master of Music (Composition). Sydney Conservatorium of Music. University of Sydney (Thesis)
Digital media artist; Musician; Scientist; Mathematician. Represented artist, The Australian Music Centre
[works: Decompose series]

‘It’s Like a Sausage Factory: Salon des Refuses and Doug Moran National Portrait Prize: … Gaye Chapman’s Phototropism of Noctuidae (Self-portrait staring into light) has a mixture of surreal poetry and emotional intensity that is genuinely arresting. It is a picture that deals with personal grief, showing the artist staring out at us with an expression that would unsettle an exorcist. After this protracted annual wrestle with the evil demon of art competitions, I know exactly how she feels.

— John McDonald. The Sydney Morning Herald
Art Critic. former Head of Australian Art, National Gallery of Australia
[finalist x 2 work: Phototropism of Noctuidae: Self-portrait staring into light]

‘[Gaye Chapman] overlays ornamental patterns … with motifs from nature: fruit, flowers, insects and birds … searching for beauty in the abyss that exists between the pretty, the sentimental and the sweet.’

— Katrina Lobley. Domain, The Sydney Morning Herald
Arts Writer; Sub-Editor. The Sydney Morning Herald
[works: Glitter series]

‘World Year of Physics Art Prize: Artists sex-up physics for the centenary of the theory of relativity: Last year was the World Year of Physics … It marked the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. … ‘The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science’. Einstein. Macquarie University’s physics department decided to celebrate with an art competition, the World Year of Physics Art Prize. … Once again science and art make terrific bedfellows. As Einstein said, ‘Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.’

— Tracey Clement. Arts, Arts Reviews, The Sydney Morning Herald
Artist; Writer. Marketing & Communications, College of Fine Art, University of New South Wales
[finalist work: The Physics of Death. 25 x panels]

‘World Year of Physics Art Prize. Macquarie University Art Gallery: 2005 has been designated by the United Nations as the World Year of Physics, to remind the world of the central role Physics plays in the enabling sciences. The World Year of Physics Art Prize. is the headline event of many planned by the Department of Physics at Macquarie University … Artists responded to … the following research areas of the department: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Lasers and Optics, Semiconductor Materials and Devices, Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Biophotonics. Artists exhibited: Gaye Chapman, et al …’

— Rhonda Davis. Macquarie University Art Gallery Online and Museum Studies Macquarie Flickr Online
Head curator. Macquarie University Art Gallery
[finalist work: The Physics of Death. 25 x panels]

Australian Artists – Portraits by Greg Weight’: The book, which presents 100 black and white portraits of more than 80 artists, has been described by Pat Corrigan as an ‘important record of many of Australia’s creative masters’. It provides an insightful look at some of the most creative, interesting, inspiring and important art practitioners within Australia from the 1970’s to the present day. Together, these portraits from Australia’s most prominent fine art photographer provide a unique insight into Australia’s art history and development over the last three decades. The National Portrait Gallery is delighted that through the generosity of Pat Corrigan AO this record of the practitioners of the Australian art world of our time has been presented to the gallery in the Permanent Collection.’

— Michelle Fracaro. Portrait 14 Magazine of Australian & International Portraiture. Magazine Archive and National Gallery of Australia Online
Program coordinator. National Gallery of Australia
[portrait; profile; review. Gaye Chapman]

‘Gaye Chapman’s controversial installation Decompose features rotting paintings which stun the observer with the surprising beauty of decomposing noxious weeds that represent Europe’s invasion of Australia. In a body of over 80 works Chapman creates ‘relics’ spattered with mould spores, drawings and tendril tracks of fungi and torn gold leaf depicting insects in a glazed fruit and leaf stain landscape. Chapman’s art has been obsessed with time’s passage and the colonization of Australia by noxious plants for two decades. Working with chemist and polymer scientist Gary Dennis, the artist developed an alchemic process which promotes the decay of botanical matter into a rich bed of medieval gesso (artist’s plaster) and agar medium. She calls this process Botanomancy. Chapman paints memories dredged from her childhood through the stains and decaying remnants of fruit flies, prickly pear, blackberry, paddy melon and other plants gathered during artist camps along the length of NSW’s Castlereagh River. She transforms this harvest into a fragile and disturbingly familiar world.’

— Therese Kenyon (ed.). Manly Regional Art Gallery & Museum on Arts Connect Online and (ephemera)
Curator. former Director and Head Curator, Manly Regional Art Gallery & Museum
[works: Decompose series]

‘Gaye Chapman: Gaye at the Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney University (photo) taken at the exhibition of her paintings, Decompose, produced during her self imposed isolation over many years, painting, observing and writing a thesis on decomposition. Not often do art and science share the painted surface so intimately. This body of art is based on the effects of specific plants decomposing on the artists raw canvas, leaving their own signature or imprint which forms the basis for Gaye’s paintings., accompanied by scientific conclusions. The paintings were as beautiful as the theory was interesting.’

— Greg Weight. Australian Artists Portraits by Greg Weight. Chapter & Verse. Sydney
Artist; Photographer; Author of Art Anthology
[works: Decompose series]

‘Decompose: Weeds invade landscape; their decay invades canvas as I invade the resulting imagery with my own marks. The canvas becomes a self-devouring microcosm where weeds and time are the medium. I use destruction as creation, the paintings sabotage the fine art process of conservation, and they themselves will decompose.’

— Gaye Chapman. Artist Statement. Arts Connect Online
[works: Decompose series]

‘Delve into the delights of decay: Discover the hidden delights of decay at Decompose – a confronting exhibition soon to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens. Decay is often viewed as an ugly and unsightly process, but in Decompose, Sydney artist Gaye Chapman uses rotting fruit, fungi, moulds and noxious weeds to highlight the little-recognised beauty of organic breakdown and plant decomposition. ‘It is my way of imprinting the passage of time onto canvas,’ said Chapman… ‘it is, [in art], Vanitas, or the long tradition of exploring the fleetingness of life.’
Chapman grew up in the central west township of Mendooran (near Dubbo, NSW) and cites her childhood days along the banks of the Castlereagh River as providing the inspiration for her work.
The exhibition features … canvas works … a variety of textures and an explosion of colour comprising millions of tiny pin-points of burnt sienna, red, magenta, black, brown, olive and khaki green.
Chapman’s technique involves arranging plant matter on canvas and then sealing the work in damp polythene ‘body bags’ to promote decomposition. After two to five months, the decaying organic material has left an intriguing and fascinating imprint on the surface of the canvas. The artist displays a particular interest in introduced plants and noxious weeds – with many of her works resulting from decomposed Prickly Pear, Blackberry, Wandering Jew and Briar. Chapman has been successfully exhibiting nationally and internationally for two decades.’

— (ed.). Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Online and (ephemera)
[works: Decompose series]

‘Artisan breaks the mould – Innovative art: Gaye Chapman has found another way to look at mould … She’s used mould and decay in her latest exhibition, called Decompose, to illustrate the themes of invasion, beauty and time. “I was always obsessed with the passage of time, and decay is a … way of making people think about that, about the fragility of life,” she said. Instead of just painting moulds and decay, which she had done previously, she actually grew mould and algae on the canvas, so her art was alive. She also used mud and slime from the CastlereaghRiver in Central Western NSW for the background of piece [s]. The fruits she used to create the mould were from noxious weeds and species which have been introduced to Australia such as prickly pear, blackberry and paddy melon. “These are usually hated, but I think they’re beautiful plants, … How do you perceive beauty? These introduced plants invaded Australia in a similar way to European settlers.” Ms Chapman said.   . she spent four years researching [ weed ] history, science and philosophy to prepare for this exhibition and in that time has become something of an expert on introduced species.’

— Veronica Apap. Glebe Inner Western Weekly, Cumberland Newspaper Group
Arts Writer
[works: Decompose series]

‘Top Five Exhibitions – Decompose: In more than 80 works suspended in tiers from the ceiling, painter Gaye Chapman presents a monumental vision of life, death and putrescence.’

— Lenny Ann Low. Metropolitan, The Sydney Morning Herald
Arts Reviewer. former Arts Critic, The Sun Herald and The Sydney Morning Herald
[works: Decompose series]

‘Tatting, tattered or just plain tatty: Let the Rot Set In: … she wants to be the T. S. Eliot of painting…from realism to esoteric decay [Gaye Chapman’s] solo show MOTH: The Nature Of Transience. “Decay is exquisite” … her father Peter, a scrap metal merchant, taught her the meaning of white-fella’s broken [objects] … She’s not into decay like some experimental artist … “I’m interested in the wild and feral, outside the norm. Things that are discarded and left behind. Ephemeral things denoting the passage of time” … Her PhD is really creepy. The idea, to test the effects of rotting fruit and noxious weeds on acrylic and canvas, is a first in Australia. “the paintings change constantly” … feral [fruit] … on the gessoed canvas and leave it to rot. Months later speculative shapes appear … ’

— Daphne Guinness. Art. Metropolitan. The Sydney Morning Herald
Arts Writer
[works: MOTH: the Nature of Transience]

‘Chapman recalls that when she entered art school as a teenager she was confronted by colour field painting and abstract expressionism – both of which she [then] rejected … As a child she grew up beside the banks of the Castlereagh River … in Central Western New South Wales, and her memory of that rural environment is a strong influence on her current painting … memories of games and personal ritual – these are realised through carefully constructed images with an emotional undercurrent. Chapman says that for many years she painted in isolation.. [her] painting … clearly retains it’s own integrity and has been critically acclaimed for its honesty and sensitivity.’

— Nevill Drury. Images 3 Contemporary Australian Painting. Anthology. Craftsman House. Sydney
Arts Author; Publisher; Lecturer
[work: Seeds for Burial. Finalist AGNSW Sulman Prize]

An Artist at the Turner Exhibition
(for Gaye)

What you really want
is Varnishing Day,
the Royal Academy, London,
circa 1830 –
everyone’s reeled out
into the street with headaches,
except the boy with the candle
hovering behind
the short dishevelled man
adding paint to still-wet canvas,
(refusing to varnish –
light enough
bursting out …)

What you really want
is to reach
over Turner’s shoulder,
to scoop up his paint
with your fingers –
maybe that dash of white
swirled with pearly grey and yellow –
to like it,
(mouth watering round
an oyster
or lover,)
to slide it
around tongue and teeth
like the cat got
the King Island cream,

to swallow
the oral memory


Instead, in Canberra,
June 1996,
(security guards hovering,)
your fingers itching,
you take notes

with your eyes.

— Frances Rouse. Ulitarra No.14, Uliterra Literary Association. Armidale
Poet; Artist; Writer. former Poetry Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald

‘There is a blue box, that sits out in the small Central West town of Mendooran, which holds Gaye Chapman’s memories. Her childhood dolls, her mothers dresses, pieces of china and tales of the lives of her female forebears are encased in this box – which the artist looks to often. That box, a ‘bluebird blue’ weatherboard house she grew up in has provided the basis for artworks which have won Gaye accolades. … the artist shared these memories in her first major solo art exhibition in Sydney. The series of artworks, which took her five years to complete, told the story of women’s lives and were the highlights so far of a career which has seen her recognised in many circles and her works included in many collections. For four months after the exhibition Gaye did not paint, suffering depression about her work. …when she came back to the studio, she decided to explore the theme of death and decay. An abstract painting about the seeds of rejuvenation … was this year selected for exhibition in the Sulman Prize as part of the NSW Art Gallery Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes. It was dedicated to [her mentor Australian actor] John Hargreaves.’

— Kellie Penfold. The Land Newspaper
Former Features Editor and Arts Writer, The Land. Editor, CoreTex Publishing
[works: The Blue Box series]

‘Songs in Paint. The Blue Box is Gaye Chapman’s song in paint. in this series of paintings, she sings of her childhood and the living history of generations of women that have filled her life, the treasured objects (relics of memory and now dynamic symbols at her art), the function of mind and memory. To this she adds meditations on experience of the fragility of life and the moment as we live it. …
Her objects function in a similar way to relics in a museum. We glean the life of the people who interacted with them from the nature at the object. … The viewer becomes the I just as the camera becomes the I in parts of films like The Last Laugh and The Tin Drum. The objects, though particular in Gaye’s life, are symbols common to the visual language that constitutes the psyche of an individual in contemporary Australian society … She strikes on archetypal essences that Jung would perhaps have described as our collective unconscious. The objects are arranged on the canvas as if they are being catalogued in a mind space. Although the objects are painted and have the form inherent to them, they are not set in real space perspectives or contexts. ’… The object is presented like a form of cataloguing. … This allows for meditation on objects alone, and for free association on the part of the viewer. Meditation is an important element in Gaye’s work, in both the viewing and the making.’

— Gay Hendriksen. OZ Arts anthology and The Blue Box Catalogue Essay. Crawford Gallery, Sydney
Curator. former Manager-Curator, National Trust of Australia NSW;  Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum, and Penrith Regional Art Gallery and Lewers Bequest
[works: The Blue Box series]

‘The Inner Child – Gaye Chapman. Painter Gaye Chapman’s memories of a joyous childhood are the wellspring of her creativity: her  superbly detailed images celebrate domestic landscapes and invite nostalgia.
Fortunate are those who remember their childhoods with affection — those such as artist Gaye Chapman, who cherishes a childhood spent climbing trees and building cubby houses in country New South Wales, her memories providing a wealth of images for her canvases. …‘As l grow older, l am aware that my childhood is the absolute wellspring of my creativity.’ Slightly larger than life, meticulously detailed items from Chapman’s childhood are painted in apparently unrelated arrangements. In one work, two black cockatoo feathers float down beside a fifties cotton dress covered in large red dahlias. The dress was her mother’s and the painting recalls hot summer days when the screech of cockatoos sliced through the white heat outside, accompanied by the ‘sound of screen doors banging and the hot wind in the bush’.
There are many levels in Chapman’s paintings. In recognising familiar domestic items, people recall their own childhoods, ’ precise detail …invites viewers to come close and marvel at the painterly skill and, in the process, gently encourages them to re-evaluate what they see. Female clothing and belongings dominate the paintings — a legacy of growing up in an all-female household — and the attention that Chapman gives these personal items questions the politics of the object in art. She is also fascinated by the way things age and the history that they embody.’

— Jennifer Burns. Arts, Vogue Australia
Arts Writer
[works: The Blue Box series]

‘Determined, confident and aggressive, artist Gaye Chapman packs a punch, as does her first solo show [in Sydney]. Crawford Gallery’s Patricia Anderson says… “the consummate skill leaps from the canvas … they aren’t just skilful … they’re also quirky; there’s something so tense”. Ditto their creator … she paints childhood memories … her grandmothers dress dummy, corsets, her mothers dress, china, cloth, her own cubby, feathers, nests, skeletons, marbles. … Some are quite sinister: overtones of Doris Lessing and Iris Murdoch abound. How Fragile We Are is a huge stone suspended over an egg: life could stay the same or the rope could slip, the rock could fall, the egg could break. … Suzonne is Chapman’s doll, “look at it, now look again, don’t just dismiss it as a doll. There is a lot of emotional investment in dolls.” … subjects of great art have predominantly been male – or the grand vista of the landscape has more validity than a table cloth passed down four generations … ’

— Daphne Guinness. The Sydney Morning Herald
Arts Writer
[works: The Blue Box series]

‘The consummate skill leaps from the canvas. .. they aren’t just skilful … they’re also quirky; there’s something so tense.’

— Patricia Anderson. (quote). The Sydney Morning Herald. 1995
Editor Australian Art Review. former Art Critic The Australian. former Director Crawford Gallery Sydney
[works: The Blue Box series]

‘Ambivalence leads to a sense of timelessness: … The paintings are drawn from memories of a matriarchal childhood in a rural setting. Though evidently subsumed by self-importance, they are technically impressive, catching our eye like pop art greeting cards and touching our collective memory like the nostalgic GM Card [Holden] television commercial.’

— Felicity Fenner. The Sydney Morning Herald
Chief Curator, National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA), College of Fine Arts, University of NSW. former Curator Venice Biennale and Museum of Contemporary Art. Contributor Art & Australia; Art Asia-Pacific
[works: The Blue Box series]

‘[The Blake Prize for Religious Art] painting … revealed far more than the usual competence and I believe would have taken the prize in slightly different circumstances. Gaye Chapman’s work is full of sharp perceptions … she can be a kindly and satirically penetrating commentator. She has not followed the usual treadmill of a series of one-person shows with all the non-creative aspects of life in the commercial gallery world. I think she has reached an age of fluid ease and authority.’

— Elwyn Lynn (ephemera)
Artist. former Art Critic, The Australian. former Judge, The Blake Prize for Religious Art
[work: God; this is my Grandmother Coralie Lancaster]

‘Hits and Horrors of 92: Religion was allowed to be humorous with Gaye Chapman’s God; this is my Grandmother Coralie Lancaster. She was in the chook-yard with a basket of eggs thankfully no symbolic intent.’

— Elwyn Lynn. Art, The Australian
Artist. former Art Critic, The Australian. former Judge, The Blake Prize for Religious Art
[finalist work: God; this is my Grandmother Coralie Lancaster]

‘Artist in Residence: a special feature of the Seasonal Ranger Programme these holidays has been our Artist in Residence Gaye Chapman. Gaye was visiting friends in Dorrigo … when she first experienced Dorrigo National Park and was moved to tears by its beauty and grandeur. That love affair culminated in her return this year as a Seasonal Ranger conducting regular ‘Art in the Park’ Workshops. Gaye has taken many groups into the rainforest and encouraged them to experience the unique environment from a new and different perspective.’

— (ed.). Dorrigo Rainforest Tailnotes. Dorrigo National Park, NSW Parks & Wildlife
[exhibition: Rainforest to Butcher’s Paper. 100 x site specific drawings. Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area]

‘More Things in Heaven and Earth: Humour allied to a sort of mysticism… Gaye Chapman has a woman, big in breast and belly, in a simple cotton frock in the chookyard with a basket of eggs and a hen and a rooster in attendance. She looks little like a fowl and wears a tattered gold leaf halo. It’s touchingly rendered and titled God This Is My Grandmother. Maybe its also about not putting all your religious eggs in one basket.’

— Elwyn Lynn. Arts & Minds, The Australian
Artist. former Art Critic, The Australian. former Judge, The Blake Prize for Religious Art
[finalist work: God; this is my Grandmother Coralie Lancaster]

‘There are equally interesting works which could quite well have been selected for the [Blake Prize for Religious Art]. Gaye Chapman’s God This Is My Grandmother …  which was commended by the judges, is fresh … Chapman’s grandmother, sporting a gold leaf halo, displays the same body language as the two chooks on stick legs beside her. The painting is redolent with feeling for the archetypal grandmother who must surely go straight to heaven.

— Dinah Dysart. Art, The Sydney Morning Herald
Curator; Arts Writer; Editor. former Editor, Art & Australia and Art Asia-Pacific
[finalist work: God; this is my Grandmother Coralie Lancaster]