Sally Anderson paints like a writer: treating every picture as if it were a phrase, butting one arrangement up against another to form a single painted line. Sometimes the painting forms the sentence, as when LJ’s Mum’s Hydrangeas completes Bendalong With Luc Tuyman's Black Heath. At other times language leads: Two Places attempts to align distinct elevations—improbably conflating two landscapes into one. Anderson’s paintings, made in counterpoint, approximate her world via a formal language that allows her to move between exposure and circumspection within one frame.
Other paintings are made intaglio, with landscapes, idols and lovers sunk below their surface. Your Landscape Of Robertson On My Landscape Of You holds within it another painting, as does Guy's Painting Of Lord Howe On Dillings Bromeliads (Worlds In Worlds). These paintings are like wombs or libraries—where gestation and digestion are tacitly implied.
Anderson arranges intimate personal and psychological experience in brief, coded histories. But, if an Intimist is necessarily intimate, then Anderson blows hot and cold. She paints in shorthand, without the need to explain the minutiae of people, places or things. She shares a lexicon of names and places, reciting a rosary that begins with Bromeliad, blue lagoon, Blue Mountains, blue fucker and Bendalong and ends with Celia, Guy, Luc, Nat, Paterson’s Curse, and Salvation Jane. We’re on a first name basis, until she swiftly draws the blinds—most explicitly in The Cover Up (I Wish I Could Say The Same). This is painting that, like writing, is made sub rosa: painting that places the burden on private process rather than public proof.
The artist Helen Marten writes of painting as a self-reflexive game of logic and obsession. Riffing on a line from Infinite Jest, (“Nets and fences can be mirrors. And between nets and fences, opponents are also mirrors”), Marten—positioned at the net, where it’s easy to see that the players only ever play themselves—rails against pure interpretation to champion the multitudes contained in painting as an action, as an idea and as a dialogue:
There is so much meta-meaning, all those surface distractions, distortions, projections, nonsense and dead ends. What about the conjuring of light, or the deliberate swallowing of it? Or painting for pleasure’s sake, for mood, intuition, respite, delay or arousal. Or for the routine bounce-hit logic of striking a conversational rally. In process, the anxiety of an imposed blockade or reflection might be a strange catalyst for inventiveness - for the productive thinking in meshwork (in nets that extend to other nets) that happens tangled in an upside-down tennis swerve.
“Needleshine”, an essay by the poet Eileen Myles, might be the perfect piece of criticism: coming as it did after Sontag questioned what a type of useful criticism might be—one that serves rather than tames the work of art—in her essay Against Interpretation.
“Needleshine” reflects on artist Zoe Leonard’s practice of using camera obscura: an optical phenomenon where light through a pinhole projects a reversed and inverted moving image of what is outside, inside. In “Needleshine”, Myles writes of lying down with friends and strangers in the dim light of Leonard’s capsized landscapes:
We want to be tiny, we want to be small. And at night, well, there’s the rub. Zoe invited us all to come one night to Murray Guy in Chelsea, where her camera obscura was installed and we could lie down together on the floor and...what. Commune? To hold something. To be a part. I think so...When we settled in, which was instantaneous and then long (because no one could watch my growing comfortable or not. Like meditation or writing or prayer, my entire process was my own), I don’t know how long I lay in the darkness that grew lighter.
In counterpoint, Myles writes of the Jewish poet Abraham Sutzkever, who survives the murder of his son and the remainder of WW2 by hiding in a roof cavity where he pierced the thin tin vaulting of the roof with a nail, making a pinpoint of light that lit his entire world. He writes of being captured by the particles of light:
Liberated, when I returned
To my hiding place—
In the same needleshine I saw,
Quivering in the ray of dust,
A familiar figure. I could swear:
I it was. And am. And shall remain,
Strung on a string of dust
With the same needle.
The sounding together of these two experiences elicits a sensation—rather than an understanding—of Leonard’s work against an arrangement of Sutzkever’s horror and Myles’ experience of blind intimacies. Giving congruence to the incongruous is the tendency of art, as if it were always aware of an oblivious yet parallel world—which I believe it is.
Helen Marten, “My Influences”, Frieze.com, December 6, 2016
Eileen Myles, “Needleshine”, in Zoe Leonard: Available Light (Dancing Foxes/Ridinghouse, 2014).
Abraham Sutzkever, “Needleshine”, in A. Sutzkever: Selected Poetry and Prose, Abraham Sutzkever, Barbara Harshav, (University of California Press, 1991).
A love of process and insatiable curiosity for life’s contradictions are the hallmarks of Sally Anderson’s painterly style. Abstracted and instinctual, her compositions are intangible landscapes of vaguely constructivist forms, reactionary mark-making and opaque references to past experiences. Comprised of layers, both physical and metaphorical, they catalogue a practice of meditation and technical application that gives the works a gritty depth at odds with their optimistic colour palettes and quirky titles.
Laden with autobiographical content, Anderson’s paintings both obscure and make blatant her emotional response to interpersonal relationships, private contemplations and observations on memory, association and context. Often paired to directly complement or contradict their twin, each work explores the way meaning is formed and how the use of language influences perspective. As the artist herself says, “we understand what ‘hot’ means because we know what ‘cold’ is”.
Crowning the works are Anderson’s unconventional titles, often seeming as meandering streams of consciousness. Lyrical and occasionally fractured, they are a poetic reminder of the friends, lovers and experiences that shape her idiosyncratic art practice.
Born in Lismore, Sally Anderson began her undergraduate studies in Visual Art at Southern Cross University before transferring to the College of Fine Art in Sydney. A past finalist in the Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Portia Geach Memorial Award, the Sunshine Coast Art Prize and the Paddington Art Prize, Anderson was invited to participate in the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists residency in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2014. In 2017 Sally Anderson won the prestigious Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship administered by the Art Gallery of New South Wales and completed the three month residency at the Cite des Artes in Paris.
Sally Anderson’s Guido Holding Folding Moulding is another stand-out. Ostensibly a portrait of her artist husband holding their child, there’s a metaphysical dimension to the work, with a sculpture on a pedestal, a jug with flowers and a red, flag-like curtain taking up significant space in the composition. The play of curves and fractured planes adds to the mystery of the picture, as we feel we are looking through multiple doorways or windows, projecting a dream-like atmosphere.
Congratulations to Sally Anderson who is a finalist in the Portia Geach Award at SH Ervin Gallery in Sydney.
First awarded in 1965, the Portia Geach Memorial Award was established by Florence Kate Geach in memory of her sister, artist Portia Geach. As per the direction of the will, the Award is annually presented to an Australian female artist for the best portrait painted from life of a man or woman distinguished in art, letters or the sciences. Geach was widely acclaimed as a leading artist and was a frequent commentator in the national media – making her an iconic figure in the Australian arts community. The $30,000 non-acquisitive Portia Geach Memorial Award is given by Perpetual as trustee, to the entry with the highest artistic merit.
Guido holding, folding, moulding 2022, acrylic on polycotton, 198 x 153 cm
Blue Island investigates the interplay of colour and memory in relation to individual experience. Paintings draw on hydrangea related respective experience to demonstrate the capacity for colour and object to hold and trigger memory and association. The exhibition seeks to question the reliability of memory and offers a way to authenticate experience through colour. In attempting to realise something perhaps visually impossible to verify within their paintings; mixing colour truthfully and straightforwardly from memory, the artists are challenged to settle on feeling and intuitive correctness rather than absolute truth and certainty.
Using a uniform size canvas, the 14 invited artists were instructed to translate, from their ‘mind’s eye’, the colour they most strongly associate with their experience of hydrangeas. The result is a collection of essentially monochrome surfaces steeped with hidden and concealed recollections of mothers and mother’s mothers, former neighbours and neighbourhoods, marriage, childbirth city front-yards, suburban backyards, households and broken family homes. More visually evident (than the personal histories imbued in the paintings) is the materiality and individually distinctive application of paint to surface. These largely monochrome works give a condensed, and detail like insight into each artist’s painterly signature, almost all of which are instantly recognisable.
50 works by 50 artists — all for sale. Presenting The Australian’s inaugural summer exhibition, a showcase of the most exciting young Australian artists working today. By AMY CAMPBELL
It’s this moment of evolution that has inspired The Australian’s Summer Exhibition — a showcase of sculptures, paintings, photographs and works on paper. Beautiful to look at, it’s a celebration of some of the best and brightest artists working today. All 50 pieces have been selected because they signify what’s happening in Australian art and culture right now.
So, what is happening right now? The primary art market in Australia is experiencing a small boom. For obvious reasons, flying to international art fairs is off the cards, and this has led Australian collectors to rediscover a local market packed full of prodigious works by tomorrow’s household names.
It means there’s a renewed focus on Australian stories and more opportunities for emerging artists to have their work seen, as gallerists and buyers look toward home. It’s this time of risk-taking and yes, even optimism that our summer exhibition represents.
To coincide with her exhibition at Tweed Regional Gallery, Edwina Corlette Gallery is delighted to present a series of new paintings by Sally Anderson. Sally is a past winner of the prestigious Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and a finalist in this year’s Portia Geach Award for female portraiture, with her painting of Claudia Karvan (below).
Born in Lismore, Anderson began her undergraduate studies in Visual Art at Southern Cross University before transferring to the College of Fine Art in Sydney. A past finalist in the Sunshine Coast Art Prize and the Paddington Art Prize, Anderson was invited to participate in the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists Residency in Reykjavik in 2014. Her work has been acquired by Artbank, the Australian Catholic University and corporate and private clients in Australia and Europe.
The concept of home has changed in 2020. For a lot of people, home has never been just one static place, and yet in the last few months that stasis has been forced upon us. In the midst of shelter-in-place orders, we’ve been directed to decide on a single location that represents our place in the world and stay there, hoping it keeps us safe.
Reframing the domestic space as a new landscape intrigues artist and new mother Sally Anderson. Her new body of work is entitled Bridal Veil Falls, the Window and the Piano Lesson, and was created almost entirely in lockdown. The pieces will be on display at Edwina Corlette gallery in Brisbane from tomorrow, in an exhibition that explores the fusion between Sally’s subjective experience of parenthood, and the collective endurance of pandemic paralysis.
“To help my son sleep we put on white noise of a small river in Scotland and Llyn Gwynant waves in Wales. The toponomy of Lismore indicates it was named after Isle of Lismore which lies in Loch Linnhe, an arm of the sea, on the West Coast of Scotland. I was born in Lismore early 1990, an experience I hadn’t intimately considered until the birth of my son a couple of years ago. My son was conceived in the Nancy Fairfax Artist in Residence Studio at Tweed Regional Gallery. There’s a pair of hoop pines (aka Richmond River Pines) that dominate the side view from the residency verandah. I often use these trees, along with banksias, within my work to represent the Northern Rivers region, my transition to motherhood and European exploration/invasion of Australia.
The works in 'Arm of the Sea and the Fertile Tree' use landscape metaphor rather than subject. Intimate personal experience and collective experience are translated into paintings, bedspreads, windows, still lifes and stages.”
Sally Anderson's work 'Claude Swimming' has been selected as a finalist in the Portia Geach Prize for 2020. The painting of Claudia Karvan, actress, producer and writer will be exhibited at the National Trust's S.H. Ervin Gallery from 14 August – 20 September 2020.
The Portia Geach Memorial Award is Australia’s most prestigious art prize for portraiture by women artists. The Award was established by the will of the late Florence Kate Geach in memory of her sister, Portia Geach. The non-acquisitive award of $30,000 is awarded by the Trustee for the entry which is of the highest artistic merit, ‘…for the best portrait painted from life of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, or the Sciences by after any female resident who was born in Australia or was British born or has become a naturalised Australian and whose place of domicile is Australia’
In Issue 44, 2018, Sally Anderson spoke to Artist Profile Magazine about how the deeply autobiographical, the metaphorical and the observed intertwine in her painting practice.
'My paintings talk of relationship, context and metaphor. They are loaded with autobiographical content, draw on past and present experiences and often arrive in pairs. Recent paintings use abstraction, still life and borrowed landscapes to reference everyday intimate experience held in object and place. They explore the self and use abstraction, landscape and still life as devices to do so.' Sally Anderson
Sally Anderson's work 'Side of the Road River with Rousseau's Bluebells' has been selected as a finalist in the Mosman Art Prize
Established in 1947, the Mosman Art Prize is Australia's oldest and most prestigious local government art award. As an acquisitive art award for painting, the winning artworks collected form a splendid collection of modern and contemporary Australian art, reflecting developments in Australian art practice since 1947. Artists who have won the Mosman Art Prize include Margaret Olley, Guy Warren, Grace Cossington Smith, Weaver Hawkins, Nancy Borlase, Lloyd Rees, Elisabeth Cummings, Adam Cullen, Michael Zavros and Natasha Walsh.
An exhibition of artworks by 20 young Australian artists celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, will be on view at the S.H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney from 22 March to 5 May 2019.
The Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship was established by Ms Beryl Whiteley (1917-2010) who generously allocated funds for the scholarship in memory of her son, Brett Whiteley, to provide young painters the opportunity to travel to Paris and explore Europe in order to develop their artistic practice. Since its inception in 1999, 20 young painters have followed in the footsteps if Brett Whiteley who won the Italian Government Travelling Scholarship in 1959.
The exhibition features works by Sally Anderson, Alice Byrne, Mitch Cairns, James Drinkwater, Petrea Fellow, Becky Gibson, Nathan Hawkes, Alan Jones, Nicole Kelly, Belem Lett, Lucy O’Doherty, Wayde Owen, Timothy Phillips, Tom Polo, Ben Quilty, Karlee Rawkins, Samuel Wade, Amber Wallis, Natasha Walsh, and Marcus Wills, alongside the four paintings by Brett Whiteley that secured him the Italian Government Travelling Scholarship, displayed together for the first time since 1959.
The exhibition presents the works by each artist that were entered and/ or won the scholarship, works resulting from their residency at the Cite Internationale des Art, Paris and recent work. The cohort of scholarship awardees features three artists who have gone on to win the Archibald Prize and many have now established themselves on the art scene and exhibit regularly.
Sally Anderson's work ‘Guy’s Painting of Wollumbin on my Wollumbin’ 2018, acrylic on linen, 140 x 122cm has been acquired by Tweed Regional Gallery. In 2017 Sally was an artist in residence at the Nancy Fairfax Artist Residency through the Tweed Regional Gallery and throughout her life, has had strong connections to the region.
Congratulations to Sally Anderson who is a finalist in the Paddington Art Prize 2018.
The Paddington Art Prize is a $30,000 National acquisitive prize, awarded annually for a painting inspired by the Australian landscape. The prize encourages the interpretation of the landscape as a significant contemporary genre, its long tradition in Australian painting as a key contributor to our national ethos, and is a positive initiative in private patronage of the arts in Australia.
Of her entry 'Sharing Thirroul (Paul Ryan’s Post Of Thirroul With Curtain) And Guy’s Wollumbin', Sally says
This work uses ‘borrowed landscapes’ to look at ways we experience the Australian landscape from the comfort of our homes. It uses landscape as a device to demonstrate a shift in the way we experience landscape.
Sally Anderson's recent exhibition 'Self Storage and the Really Real' is featured in the January edition of the Art Almanac.
'“Self Storage and the Really Real’ looks at ways we authenticate experience and store memory in object and place’, says artist Sally Anderson whose abstract compositions brim with clear references to past experiences; from the hydrangeas at her childhood home to shells from the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, and Norfolk Pines from recent Instagram posts to landscapes from past and present relationships. These works are a visual archive giving permanence to intangible memories and making them, as the title implies, ‘really real’.'
Sally Anderson has been awarded the Brett Whiteley Travelling Arts Scholarship for 2017.
The prize is $40,000 and a three month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, administered by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
The annual Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship is open to Australian artists aged between 20 and 30. It was created from an endowment left by Beryl Whiteley, who witnessed the profound effect that international travel had on her son Brett Whiteley, as a result of him winning the Italian Government Travelling Art Scholarship at the age of 20.
The exhibition will open 13 October – 19 November 2017 at Brett Whiteley Studio, 2 Raper Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010.
Sally Anderson has been selected as a finalist in Newcastle Art Gallery's Kilgour Prize.
In 1987 artist Jack Kilgour bequeathed funds for the creation of a figurative and portrait art competition to be run in perpetuity at Newcastle Art Gallery. Today the Kilgour Prize is one of Australia's major art prizes and awards $50,000 for the most outstanding work of art as determined by a panel of three judges, and $5,000 for the People's Choice Award, as determined by votes from the public.
The Kilgour Prize will be on display 5 August - 15 October 2017. For further information, please click here.
Iconic Australian blog The Design Files visited Sally Anderson in her studio recently, to see how things were progressing in the lead up to her first solo exhibition.
'Working predominantly with a muted colour palette, the artist will often add an unexpected contrast, like a brush of bright magenta. ‘For me, working with colour is very intuitive; I might spend weeks working with dusky colours, only to come in one day needing to mix a cyan blue,’ she tells.
The paintings are an ongoing process of adding layers and marks. Sometimes Sally will paint over a work in her studio that she’d thought she was long done with. ‘My partner once said that my pieces are a bit like découpage… with individual snippets and cut-outs layered heavily onto a surface,’ she says. ‘My mum has always loved crafts and used to actually découpage the furniture in our house… maybe that’s unknowingly made an impression on me!’
28 February 2024 – 19 March 2024 ‘How To Swim’Curated by Sally Andersonfeaturing Lydia Balbal, Kirsty Budge, Eleanor Louise Butt, Mark Maurangi Carrol, Jedda-Daisy Culley, James Drinkwater, Adrienne Gaha, Bridie Gillman, Simone Griffin, Rhys Lee, Eytan Messiah, Sally M Nangala Mulda, Pia Murphy, Miranda Skoczek, John Smith, Ken Whisson, Bugai Whyoulter, Sally Anderson
19 December 2023 – 30 January 2024
THE SUMMER SHOW
7 – 21 December 2023
SMALL WORKS - Click and Collection