Good Weekend Art Column

Wendy Stavrianos – Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne

Published September 21, 2019
Wendy Stavrianos, 'Archaic Twilight'

Artist: Wendy Stravrianos

Lives: Walmer, VIC.

Age: 78

Represented by:Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne (no Sydney representation)

Her thing:Expressive, semi-abstract landscapes of the imagination.

Our take.Wendy Stavrianos’s new works explore that borderline between the studio and the external world, between observation and memory, landscape and invention. It’s been more than 30 years since Stavrianos and her artist husband, Craig Gough, moved to a property at Walmer, in the countryside between Bendigo and Castlemaine, and the harsh, dry climate has become an integral element in her work.

In Through the Window of an Inner Room, at the Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Stavrianos uses the shapes of objects and detritus gathered from journeys around Australia as the basis for a meditation on a landscape of “last remains”.  Forms drawn directly into the canvas are filled in with delicate washes of acrylic, creating abstracted vistas with a brooding, apocalyptic aspect.

A painting such as Archaic Twilight depicts a sunset, but a clutter of man-made forms scattered across the canvas suggests that the sun is setting on a world ravaged by climate change. Other pictures such as Sanctuary or Night Veil are more interiorised, taking us out of the landscape and into the artist’s mind, as she reflects on the gathering darkness she sees from the studio window.


Can I afford it?

The most expensive work in the show is the large painting, Connecting Threads (Beginning) (188cm by 263cm), at $40,000. This is a very reasonable ask for an artist who held her first solo exhibition in 1967. The lowest price is a mere $450 for each of six small works on paper called Study (9.5cm by 14cm). As the title suggests these small pictures are studies for the larger canvases. Neither the artist nor her gallery is certain about her record price, but there have been a number of sales in excess of $50,000. The current show is the most substantial group of new works that Stavrianos has shown in years.

Where can I have a squiz?

Nicholas Thompson Gallery, 155 Langridge St. Collingwood, Melbourne. 18 September – 13 October, 2019.


Published in The Good Weekend, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 September, 2019