“Once or twice in my student days I was known to say, de Kooning, can you please leave my studio now!” Ann Thomson Monograph 2012.
I think at some point in art school we were discussing art made for living rooms. I had bought a small painting and it didn’t matter where it was hung, it worked. It was a good painting. The same applies for Ann Thomson. Her exhibition in the Drill Hall at ANU last year had the same affect on me as the one in the National Art School in Sydney. Her work is fabulous. This exhibition was titled Ann Thomson & Contemporaries so it had even more bang for the buck. The exhibition was spread over two floors of the magnificent old National Art School.
The lower level comprising teachers and contemporaries gave a clue as to the vibe of art during her time as a student and teacher and provided an understanding of the strength in her work. Moving upstairs, the old building provided a lofty open space large enough to take her slashes of paint and freedom of marks.
This series of works are based on a painting trip to Cockatoo Island in the middle of Sydney Harbour. Myself and 2 painter friends, Carla and Jo, camped on the island so we did plenty of sketching and night drawing. We had signed up for a weekend run by NAS (the national art school) and received some positive feedback and invaluable guidance from Euan McLeod.
Carla and I moved constantly from one vantage point to the next and went on a 2nd reconaissance trip when we were feeling a little studio-fatigued. Jo had done a great series of prints and drawings. The island has a wonderful history from convict buildings to disused ship building facilities. Old machinery, tunnels and crazy bird life meant we had more than enough material to produce work for the exhibition held at Shoalhaven City Gallery in 2009. We called the exhibition 3 Birds and a Cockatoo.