Rosalie Gascoigne

Rosalie Gascoigne AM (25 January 1917 – 23 October 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.

During the many lonely years spent raising her three children, she found solace by making natural assemblages, first via traditional flower arranging, later with the rigorous Japanese art form Sogetsu Ikebana. Her work in this medium was outstanding, earning praise from Japanese master, and founder of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, Sofu Teshigahara.Nevertheless, by the late 1960s she had become dissatisfied with such limitations, and started experimenting first with small scrap iron sculptures and later wooden boxed assemblages, all composed of materials she found while on scavenging expeditions in theAlthough the fierce, sunburnt landscape of Australia was initially a shocking change from the damp green hills of her familiar New Zealand, by this time she had come 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.Wikipedia,

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, and the poets William Wordsworth, Peter Porter and Sylvia Plath. She also had a fondness for the pronouncements of Pablo Picasso. 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.Wikipedia,

Although working vigorously into her 80s, with occasional help from an assistant, her age at the height of her success precluded the travelling that would have been necessary to build the international audience her work deserved. Although she exhibited occasionally overseas - including the 1982 Venice Biennale (the first Australian woman to do so), Switzerland and Sweden as well as throughout Asia (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan amongst others), - the major holdings of her work remain in Australia and New Zealand, both of which claim her as their own. Fine examples of Gascoigne's oeuvre can be found in most Antipodean galleries. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, owns one of her smaller pieces.Wikipedia,

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