'Abstract painting' 1947
Between 1947 and 1953 Grace Crowley painted an extraordinary series of geometric abstract paintings, among the first in Australia. Abstract painting shows Crowley's adventurous use of colour: vibrant pinks, blues and greens held together in a complex arrangement of overlapping planes. The entire composition is unified through the use of coloured lines that weave their way under and around the composition. Abstract painting has a jazz-like energy where dissonant elements are held within a dynamic rhythm.
Born into a conservative pastoralist family from northern New South Wales, Crowley pursued an unconventional course in her life and art that saw her become one of the leaders of the modern movement in Australia. In 1930, after four years of study in Paris, Crowley returned to Sydney with a sophisticated knowledge of Cubism. Over the next decade she explored ever-increasing degrees of abstraction in her work, culminating in her breakthrough in the 1940s to a purely abstract art based on a universal language of geometry and colour.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008