Finding Australia’s lost impressionist, and the beauty in gumnuts

Who was Australian Impressionist painter Iso Rae? Born in the age of ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ during the heady years of the Victorian gold rush, she was dubbed one of the “best and brightest” students of the National Gallery of Victoria’s Art School. But she remains one of the lesser-known artists of this era. The NGV’s attempting to change this with its current exhibition, She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism, which shows until August 22.

The survey show includes more than 250 artworks from painters who loom large in Australian art history — such as Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts — as well as those whose backstories, like Rae’s, are only just being written into the canon. Join She-Oak curator and art historian Anne Gray, and the University of Adelaide’s Professor Catherine Speck to rediscover Rae and understand why she was left out of the history books.

Few artists work in such an unvarnished way with the organic — the fruits of the natural world — as the Colombian-born Australian artist Maria Fernanda Cardoso. Her unconventional but diverse 40-year artistic practice explores the strangeness and miracles of the natural world, which continues in her forthcoming exhibition, Gumnuts and Sandstone. Showing at Sydney’s Sullivan + Strumpf from May 20, the exhibition zeroes in on the geometry of the gumnut, a piece of Australian flora which Cardoso calls a ‘ready-made’ piece of art.

Duration: 54min 8sec
Broadcast: Wed 19 May 2021, 10:05am

Daniel Browning
Rosa Ellen
Executive Producer
Rhiannon Brown

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