Rosalie Gascoigne (1917 – 1999) was a New Zealander – Australian sculptor. She showed at the Venice Biennale in 1982, becoming the first female artist to represent Australia there. In 1994 she was awarded the Order of Australia for her services to the arts.
Gascoigne was born Rosalie Norah King Walker in Auckland, New Zealand. She emigrated to Canberra, Australia in 1943 at the age of 26 to marry astronomer S. C. B (Ben) Gascoigne, later to become an eminent professor, and set up home in the isolated scientific community of Mount Stromlo.
In the late 1960s she started experimenting with small scrap iron sculptures and later wooden boxed assemblages, all composed of materials she found while on scavenging expeditions in the Canberra hinterland. She learnt to love the "boundless space and solitude" of her new home. Much of her art reflects this, though some also harks back to her roots in New Zealand.
|1977 Sir Bagby iron|
She said that her art-making materials "need to have been open to the weather." She thus used mostly found materials: wood, iron, wire, feathers, and most famously yellow and orange retro-reflective road signs, which flash and glow in the light. Some of her other best-known works use faded, once-bright drinks crates; thinly-sliced yellow Schweppes boxes; ragged domestic items such as torn floral lino and patchy enamelware; vernacular building materials such as galvanised tin, corrugated iron and masonite; and fibrous, rosy cable reel ends. These objects represent, rather than accurately depict, elements of her world. "The countryside's discards ... no longer suggest themselves but evoke experiences, particularly of landscape.”
Text is another important element of her work; she would cut up and rearrange the faded, naive lettering found on these items to create abstract yet evocative grids of letters and word fragments, sometimes alluding to the crosswords and poetry of which she was so fond. Knowledgeable and widely read, she was inspired amongst others by the artists Colin McCahon, Ken Whisson, Dick Watkins and Robert Rauschenberg. However gradually both colour and text seemed to fade from her work, and in her final years she created meditative, elegiac compositions of white or earth-brown panels.
|1999 Earth 4 sawn buiders form wood|
Rosalie Gascoigne died in Canberra in 1999.
|1976 The Colonel's Lady mixed media.jpg|
|1976 Triptych mixed media|
|1980-1 Untitled (12 squares of 6) sawn weathered wood|
|1984 Untitled (25 scallop shells)|
|1985 Pineapple Pieces No. 4|
|1988 Painted Words spray painted masonite on plywood|
|1989 Tesserae 1 sawn/split soft drink crates on plywood|
|1990-2 Regimental Colours (B) sawn/split soft drink crates on plywood|
|1992 Port of Call cut tea crates & weathered formwork on plywood|
|1992 Text sawn/split soft drink crates on plywood|
|1992-3 Rose Red City #6 corrugated iron on wood|
|1993 Lily Pond linoleum and plywood|
|1993-4 White City wood on craftboard|
|1994 Bread and Butter sawn wood on craftboard|
|1994 Compound timber and masonite|
|1994-5 The Apple Isle sawn wood on craftboard|
|1995 Gentlemen of Japan retro reflective roadsign on craftboard|
|1995 White Garden corrugated iron on wood|
|1998 Full Fathom Five sawn wood on wood|
|1998 Magpie sawn wood on wood|
|1998 Tartan sawn wood on wood|
|1999 Metropolis retro reflective road-sign on wood|
|1999 Parasol retro reflective road-sign on wood|
|1999 Valentine retro reflective road-sign on wood|
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