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Denise Green: The Heide Collection


Denise Green: The Heide Collection traces the development of Denise Green’s art over a forty-year period. Opening on 8 April in Heide II.

Born in Brisbane in 1946, Denise Green has lived in New York since 1969. Green’s distinctive visual language has developed out of a multitude of experiences and influences. Her life has intersected with remarkable moments in the broader culture – from studying art in Paris during the volatile period of civil unrest in 1968, to witnessing the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center from her Manhattan studio. 

She studied under Mark Rothko at New York’s Hunter College and in 1974 saw Joseph Beuys’ famous performance with a live coyote, I love America and America loves me. The work of both artists was influential on her development, as was her childhood introduction to Aboriginal bark paintings at the Queensland Museum, and art and ideas encountered in her extensive travels, to India and Italy in particular. She synthesizes these influences in an intuitive painting style, which gives expressive shape to ideas and emotional states that are rooted in deeply personal experiences of loss. Drawing on eastern philosophy, Green has developed a way of painting that ‘is seamless with a state of mind’, and enables ‘the fusion of an inner spiritual and an outer material world’.

Green’s earliest works in the exhibition, from 1976–77, depict a single object centrally placed within a large, square, abstract field. These are part of a series that featured in the exhibition New Image Painting in 1978 at the Whitney Museum, which identified a new generation of artists whose work introduced figurative elements into the pure abstract painting that dominated American art in the 1960s and early 1970s. Her forms in these early works are characteristically simple and archetypal: a fan, a tree, a needle, a vessel.  

Subsequent works favoured abstract markings integrated within a geometric vocabulary of quadrants, squares and circles, until figurative elements returned from the late 1990s. Her early vessel shapes reappear in some recent works, as stable and familiar elements in visual fields transformed by her experience of 9/11. 

The exhibition includes several of her latest photo-montages, of photographs taken by her father in North Africa during World War II and her own meditative drawings.

In 2007 Denise Green was awarded the Order of Australia for service to the arts, particularly as an abstract painter and an author, and through her promotion of Australian art and artists internationally.

Artist Denise Green and curator Linda Michael are available for interview.
High-res images are available upon request.

Denise Green: The Heide Collection
Heide II

8 April - 18 June 2017

Art Talk

Sunday 9 April, 2pm
Artist Denise Green and curator Linda Michael discuss the exhibition and Heide's recent acquisition of key works by the artist.

Exhibition tours
Every Thursday, 2pm
Sunday 23 April, 2pm
Sunday 7 May, 2pm
Sunday 28 May, 2pm


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Sue Curwood
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+61 (0) 3 8850 5943

Claire Miovich
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+61 (0) 3 8850 5924

Denise Green
Chapel Rose 2001
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
167 x 167 cm
Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne
Gift of Robin Bade and Michael Parkin 2001
Copyright © 2016 Heide Museum of Modern Art

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