Abbey McCulloch – The Early Years

The previous posts have given you an insight about my hunting and gathering behaviour to find artists and collect beautiful pieces of art. So from this point on my post will be about what this blog is all about – talking about the artists and the art I love to collect and dream to one day curate.

The first post (and likely a few future ones too) is reserved for the early brilliance of Abbey McCulloch. By now you will have recognised that I am a wee bit enamoured by Ms McCulloch. If you haven’t come to this realisation then you can back track for a minute and see why here. Abbey McCulloch is a graduate of Queensland College of Art having completed her Masters in Fine Art.  Since graduation she has been providing Australia and the world with colour drenched paintings of wide-eyed, provocatively posed ingénue. Listed as one of Australia’s 50 Most Collectable Artists, her work is now in such demand that often the pieces are sold before the oil slicked to the canvas has even dried – purely from the anticipation and trust in her brilliance.

The talented and oh so fine, Abbey McCulloch

I want to back track a few years and take you to the early series of exhibitions featured at the Schubert Contemporary Gallery .  It was The Penny Drops (2007) and The Sting (2008) exhibitions that I fell in love, head over heals, totally infatuated with the beautiful creatures Abbey created. The collection of works featured girls in provocative flirty poses with innocence oozing from the canvas simply by virtue of the acuity of the solid line Abbey used to capture these delightful beings. These works had a suggestion of child-like drafts, that someone in the artists inner circle secretly released to the public, seemingly believing they would be an absolute smash! And right, they were!

Abbey has made comment in interviews, about her inspiration and voyeuristic tendencies when she is planning her pieces.  When I look at these images I imagine her sitting in an old beat up couch at a cafe or squeezed between kissing couples at a loud frat party, quietly sketching and watching, seemingly unnoticed – yet the only one in the room completely connected to everything around her and drinking it all in without a single soul knowing they are about to be captured in that moment……forever.

Photo credit: Schubert Contemporary Gallery for Abbey McCulloch copyright.

In the press release that accompanied The Penny Drops exhibition (images above) at the Schubert Contemporary Galley in 2007, Abbey had this to say about her works:

“People ask me why I only paint women. It’s the flux. It’s the nonsense and the folly. I have a persistent desire to document this, and if it seems a bit ‘mammoths and bison’ on a cave wall, it probably is. I am trying to freeze a moment in time and make it mine.” 

While they appear child-like in construction, far be it for any person to profess, “My 10 year old could do that”. I heard this once and this was my response “No Sir, your child could not, and I’ll tell you why – Ms McCulloch captures the emotional content of a woman’s mind, heart and essence in the most delicate of nuances. These are not merely lines of charcoal and paint, these are lines that represent love, vulnerability, fear, sex, confusion, happiness, loneliness, passion, anger, strength and so much more. That Sir is why you should eat your words”. Needless to say I probably presented quite miffed and graciously he declined any further comment. Cheekily though, I did detect a slight sideways grin and wink from the young lady he accompanied.

So here in lies the ultimate coveted piece for little old me – I will continue to dream until my dying day of hanging one of these precious ingénue in my home – I plan to hang it in my boudoir so I can gaze upon her every morning when I wake and every night when I lay me down to rest. Such sweet dreaming……

I am sure to write more about Abbey McCulloch’s impressive exhibitions but for now, starting at the very beginning will suffice.



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