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Curtin University of Technology
John Curtin Gallery

Denise Green
31 October - 5 December 2008

Over the last several decades, Denise Green has produced a substantial body of art - paintings, drawings and installations that "both honor and challenge myriad sources while also blurring and smudging established boundaries."- Barbara Zabel.


All images courtesy of the artist and the Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney.

Image of Curtin

Denise Green

An artist and a critic; an eastern-thinking westerner; an ex-pat Australian - Denise Green's life appears the epitome of duality but that's exactly what her acclaimed career has worked against.

Denise Green's October 31 - December 5, 2008 John Curtin Gallery exhibition will chronicle her work over the past 40 years to reveal the influences throughout her life.

Growing up in Melbourne, she studied in Paris at 17 and attended the Ecoledes Beaux Arts and the Sorbonne and participated in the on-going civil rights riots after the university was closed in 1986.

In 1969 she moved to New York studying with Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell, two pioneers of Abstract Expressionism.

She jetted back and forth to Australia and in the 1980s travelled through Asia, including India, Indonesia, Burma, Japan, China and Sri Lanka and returned to India to take up a residency in Ahmedabad.

'Travel opens up your thinking, it makes you see things from another perspective,' Denise said.

'When I travelled in Asia it reinforced the sense for me that there was a different mode of thinking, as well as a Western way of thinking there's an Eastern way and I sense in Australia you have present in the culture two different modes of thinking: the Western and the Indigenous.

'The initial experience of travel is responding to your impressions of a place but if you really want to understand it I think you have to then think about it in more depth and read about it and you figure it out later.'

Denise figured it out and wrote the book Metonymy in Contemporary Art: A New Paradigm.

Metonymy coined by ethnologist Claude Levi-Strauss allows meaning to spread in all directions, absorbing and conjoining ever-new aspects of reality rather than a direct one-to-one relationship as in symbolism. It is associated to traditional Eastern aesthetics and the writings of A.K. Ramanujan.

For Denise, her works are more about meaning than form and they present fusion and wholeness rather than duality.

'Growing up in Australia I had been draw to Aboriginal work but hadn't understood in depth how different it was to Western art,' she said.

'It wasn't so much picturing object or people it was manifesting an inner set of beliefs and sacred space and I just tried to outline how different it was and what was involved with it.

'Then I applied it to contemporary art so it was my concern to demonstrate how it's not only found in Aboriginal art or Japanese art of Indian art it's very present in contemporary art ... and I went into an explanation of how my work is involved with it too.'

Denise Green has previously exhibited at the Guggenheim and Museum of Modern Art in New York and in galleries across Europe.

Her exhibition at Curtin will be accompanied with a lecture as part of the Jillian Bradshaw Memorial Lecture.