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Contemporary Australian Art


Fiona Hall | Australia b. 1953 |Tender (detail) 2003-06 | US dollars, wire and vitrines | 86 nests, approx., ranging from 5 x 10cm (diam.) to 108 x 17 x 13cm; two vitrines (each comprised of three parts): 220 x 360 x 150cm (each); 220 x 360 x500cm (installed, variable) | Purchased 2006. The Queensland Government's Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery


Tracey Moffatt | Australia/United States b.1960 | Adventure series (detail) 2004 | Digital photo-print on Fujiflex paper, ed.12/25 | Ten sheets: 132 x 114.6cm (each, approx.) | Purchased 2005. The Queensland Government's Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery



Fiona Hall
Australia b.1953
Medicine bundle for the non-born child (detail) 1993–94
Aluminium, rubber, plastic
Layette comprising matinee jacket: 27.5 x 47.5 x 10cm, bootees: 7 x 5 x 8.5cm and bonnet: 13 x 13 x 6cm; rattle: 32 x 8.5 x 6cm; six-pack of baby bottles: 17 x 20 x 13cm
Purchased 2000. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Tracey Moffatt, Adventure series 2 2004
Tracey Moffatt
Australia/United States b.1960
Adventure series
(detail) 2004
Digital photo-print on Fujiflex paper, ed.12/25
Ten sheets: 132 x 114.6cm (each, approx.)
Purchased 2005. The Queensland Government’s Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Banner image:
Patricia Piccinini | The stags 2008 | ABS plastic, automotive paint, plastic, stainless steel, leather, rubber tyres, ed. 1/3 | Purchased 2009 with funds from the Estate of Lawrence F King in memory of the late Mr and Mrs SW King through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation and the Queensland Government's Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Installed at the Gallery of Modern Art for ‘Contemporary Australia: Optimism’, November 2008 | Photograph: Natasha Harth

Contemporary Australian Art

Contemporary Australian art is one of the Queensland Art Gallery’s key collection areas. The contemporary Australian collection reflects not only the Gallery’s reputation as a specialist in contemporary visual art but also the growing diversity of life in Australia. Australian artists access ideas and images from all over the world; they question Australia’s identity, and the roles that they play in an international context.

In recent decades, the Gallery has emphasised the art of the twentieth, and later the twenty-first, century; accordingly, contemporary Australian art has been given greater prominence. The Gallery’s collecting strategies have followed artists’ increasing use of a wider variety of media, such as found objects, photography, digital media and film, while continuing to recognise the core collecting areas of painting, sculpture, drawing and printmaking. With the opening of the Gallery of Modern Art in 2006, the scope for display of the contemporary collections across all areas was significantly amplified, allowing works by Australian artists to be seen among those by their international peers.

The Gallery of Modern Art’s exhibition program regularly rotates Collection displays and exhibitions to ensure that the breadth of the Collection can be shown. The inauguration of the Contemporary Australia triennial series in 2008 has given the Gallery a regular opportunity for enriching the contemporary Australian collection with major works realised in collaboration with artists. This continues the Gallery’s practice of working directly with contemporary artists from Australia and around the world for major exhibitions, such as the Asia Pacific Triennial, as well as for occasional projects.

Painting, sculpture, drawing and printmaking are at the core of the contemporary Australian collection, and their continued relevance is reflected in active acquisition programs. In recent years, holdings of such works by key artists have been strengthened by the selective addition of major works by Peter Booth, eX de Medici, Fiona Hall, Bea Maddock, Callum Morton, Jan Nelson, Patricia Piccinini, Tony Tuckson and John Wolseley.

Since 1987, when the ‘Journeys North’ portfolio was acquired, the photography collection has grown with the acquisition of works by leading artists including Anne Ferran, Bill Henson and Rosemary Laing. More recently, these holdings benefited from the addition of major suites by Pat Brassington, Tracey Moffatt and William Yang. The Gallery also has rich holdings of contemporary craft and design, focusing on key works and practitioners in the areas of glass, ceramics, metalwork and jewellery such as Julie Blyfield, Susan Cohn, Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Carl McConnell and Tom Moore.

The contemporary Australian collection has also expanded to include more recent developments such as conceptual/post-object art of the late 1960s and 1970s, and post-conceptual art, including works exploring ideas and propositions about art itself, representation and the nature of vision, and the status of the art object. These are represented with important works from artists such as Ian Burn, Aleks Danko and Peter Tyndall.

New media displays have become a major feature of the Gallery of Modern Art, with its specially dedicated New Media gallery and an exhibition program that includes the biennial Premier of Queensland’s National New Media Art Award, from which the winning works are acquired. Ephemeral and time-based art, including performance art and its documentation, video, installation, electronic and digital art are areas of the Collection that will continue to develop as the opportunities presented by the presence of the Australian Cinémathèque are explored. Holdings of such work currently feature artists such as Susan Norrie, Mike Parr and David Rosetzky.

With the Asia Pacific Triennial well-established on the Gallery’s calendar, cross-cultural connections make an important focus for the Collection and displays. Connections with Indigenous Australia, between Australian cultural communities and with Asian cultures, and works by expatriate artists are an important focus for the contemporary Australian collection. This has become increasingly important with the greater mobility of contemporary Australian artists in the changing international art world. Contemporary Australian collection artists representing this thread include Tim Johnson, Guan Wei, Hossein Valamanesh and Savanhdary Vongpoothorn.

Finally, as Queensland’s state gallery, the Gallery’s Collection includes extensive holdings of work by Queensland artists, many of whom are nationally or internationally significant. Queensland artists whose work is held in depth by the Gallery include Gordon Bennett, Eugene Carchesio, Robert MacPherson, Tracey Moffatt, Scott Redford, William Robinson and Judith Wright.

The images on this web page are indicative of works that are part of the Collection. Visitors are advised to contact the Gallery in advance of a visit to find out if a particular work is on display. For exhibition information on Collection works on display, please visit Current Collection Displays

Selected Collection Highlights

Gordon Bennett Triptych: Requiem, Of Grandeur, Empire 1989

Rosalie Gascoigne Lamp lit 1989

Howard Arkley Stucco home 1991

David Noonan Type 1-16 1993

William Robinson Dark tide, Bogangar 1994

Robert MacPherson Mayfair: (Swamp rats) Ninety-seven signs for C.P., J.P., B.W., G.W. & R.W. 1994-95

Rosemary Laing Flight research #5 1999

Gwyn Hanssen Pigott Travellers no. 3 2001

David Rosetzky Untouchable 2003

William Yang About my mother (portfolio) 2003

Fiona Hall Tender 2003-06

John Citizen ‘Interior (Two Paintings)’ 2004

Tracey Moffatt Adventure series 2 2004

Guan Wei Echo 2005

Anne Wallace That was long ago 2005

Callum Morton Silverscreen 2006

Eugene Carchesio The birth of saints 2007

Jan Nelson Walking in tall grass, Martin 2007

Scott Redford and Ritchey Sealy A painting by Ritchey Sealy #8 2007

Del Kathryn Barton i am flesh again 2008

Stephen Bush I am a mountain I can see clearly 2008

Tony Clark Putto David 2008

Emily Floyd Permaculture crossed with feminist science fiction 2008

Patricia Piccinini The stags 2008

Luke Roberts AlphaStation/Alphaville’ series 2008-2009

Kathy Temin My monument: White forest 2008

Louise Weaver Phoenix, Indian blue peacock (Pavo Cristatus) 2008-09

Jennifer Mills What’s in a name? 2009-11

Judith Wright A wake 2011