Legendary Grampians artist to be honoured in exhibition

Poppies by Nanette Bourke.
Poppies by Nanette Bourke.

ARARAT - Ararat Regional Art Gallery is proud to honour legendary Grampians-region artist, Nanette Bourke, with a survey exhibition of her extraordinary linocut prints.

Settling in Moyston in 1984, Nanette is a prominent figure in the Ararat and regional arts community, perhaps best known as a member of the 'Grampians Four' group of artists. She has been a printmaker since the late 1960s, but this exhibition surveys her accomplished linocuts created over more than 30 years. Many of the works in this exhibition are inspired by the natural environment of the Grampians.

Moving from New Zealand to Sydney in the early 1950s, Nanette joined a bushwalking club where her appreciation of the natural world changed from purely physical enjoyment of walking and camping to an awareness of the more subtle pleasures of the flowers, birds and animals. It was at this time she first recognised how nature was threatened by human activities. Her deep affinity with the natural environment grew over the years and came to play an important role in her artistic life.

From 1961 to 1971 Nanette attended classes at the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney, but a move to Melbourne in 1972 consolidated her desire to become a professional artist.

"In 1972 my husband was transferred to Melbourne and I continued my studies with a variety of teachers at art societies and the CAE," she said.

"Under these influences I moved away from traditionalism to a semi-abstract style... Almost accidentally I joined a printmaking class at CAE, hoping to add to my basic knowledge of linocuts. However the emphasis was more on etching, which I studied for several years.

"My interest in linocuts was revived by a 1981 exhibition of Melbourne Woodcuts and Linocuts of the 1920s and 1930s.

The work of Napier Walter, Murray Griffin, but especially Eric Thake, opened my eyes to what a sophisticated medium this could be, equally as challenging as etching, but not so messy! Since that time I have worked mostly in linocuts, both black and white and in colour. This is a complicated, time consuming medium, but I still occasionally find time to paint abstract landscapes."

Nanette is represented in the collection of the Ararat Regional Art Gallery where she has exhibited in group shows and presented solo exhibitions in 1991, 1994 and 2008. She was shortlisted for the prestigious Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery Prints and Drawing Acquisition Award in 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 2000.

'Linocuts - Nanette Bourke' will be officially opened tomorrow at 2pm at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery and will continue until June 29.

All are welcome to attend the exhibition opening.


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