Rosalie Gascoigne

Plain View 2, 1994
timber and masonite
101.5 x 83.5 cm
signed, dated and inscribed with title (on the reverse)


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Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Private collection, The Netherlands since 1994

'Rosalie Gascoigne', Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery,
Sydney, 6 - 30 April 1994,

"I always try not to make pictures. I think that's a cop out. I remember Bruce Pollard... said 'your show is about feeling, it's not about seeing, it's about the way it feels' and there's a lot of difference in that. If you start saying well there's a thing over there and there's a hill here, well you've lost the essence." - Rosalie Gascoigne

Rosalie Gascoigne was an artist who was passionate about poetry, landscape and modern art, and her sophisticated wall work 'Plain View 2' (1994) seems to encapsulate this. With her signature use of materials gathered from her outdoors, Gascoigne has assembled pieces of timber and masonite into an elegant composition: part painting, part sculpture. The pieces of found material that quarter the work may be identical in size and shape, but each is utterly unique in its colour, grain and alluring texture, and tells of its own lived history. In 'Plain View 2' we see a collusion between the assemblage of collected detritus and the formalism of hard edge abstraction. The hard edges of Gascoigne's grid gives way to the muted palette of the panels, and the overall subtlety and sparseness of the work conjures the essence and experience of the Australian landscape.

  • Plain View 2

Image courtesy of the artist's estate and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

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A relative latecomer to the art world, Rosalie Gascoigne made an incredible contribution to Australian landscape. It was only after practicing ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, from 1962 that Gascoigne began to turn seriously towards the visual arts. Beginning with iron assemblages from 1964, in the 1970s she made works from animal bones and found objects from Australian country houses. Her aim there and across her career was to depict the land using materials found upon it, a cycle of reuse that mirrors the diversity of relationships that Australians have with the landscape.

In her late work, Gascoigne moved away from the pure display of found objects into more rigorous compositions. From the 1980s, she began using reflective road signs, incorporating text in a gridlike manner reminiscent of crossword puzzles, a favourite pastime. Originally taking the signs as she found them, she began to become more involved in slicing them herself, producing intricate grids of words resembling parquetry. Armed with these segments of yellow signs, sheets of corrugated iron, linoleum and wood, she produced highly textural works, including many large-scale installations.

Gascoigne was born in 1917 in Auckland, New Zealand. She graduated from Auckland University in 1939 and moved to Canberra, ACT in 1943. Her artistic career spanned over 30 years, launched at the age of fifty by the support of the then National Gallery of Australia director, James Mollison. Gascoigne held her last solo exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney just months before her death in 1999.

In 1982 Gascoigne represented Australia at the 40th Venice Biennale with Peter Booth. Since that time she has been included in many important group exhibitions and solo survey exhibitions in Australia, New Zealand and Europe; such as, at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2009); Wellington City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand (2004); Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra (2000), and with the major survey Material as Landscape, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1997 touring to the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (1998). Gascoigne's work is held in every state collection in Australia and many regional collections. Rosalie Gascoigne: A Catalogue Raisonné, was published by ANU Press in 2019, compiled by her son, Martin Gascoigne.