Monday, November 17, 2014

In Conversation: Ann Thomson

Journey through yellow (2003), oil on canvas, 149 x 212cm, courtesy of the artist.

Ann Thomson was born in 1933 in Brisbane, QLD. She studied under Jon Molvig in Brisbane and at East Sydney Technical College. Presently, she lives and works in Sydney, NSW. Her first solo exhibition was in Sydney in 1965 and since then she has exhibited nationally and internationally. Thomson is currently represented by Olsen Irwin Gallery, Sydney; Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne; Heiser Gallery, Brisbane; and Stephane Jacob, Paris. She has attended residencies including the Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), the Arthur Boyd Studio (Tuscany), and Perdreauville (France). Her works are included in numerous collections, including the Australian National Gallery, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Parliament House (Canberra), Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection (Spain) and the Villa Haiss Museum (Germany).


Ann Thomson in her studio.

Can you tell our readers a little about your background? Where you come from, how long you’ve been making art, etc?
I grew up in Brisbane where I had an early interest in being an artist. I studied art part time for many years and finally became a full time art student at the National Art School in the late fifties. Ever since I left Art School I have been interested in making art that took me, mentally, into another place; making painting and sculpture that comes more from the imaginative and inventive mind, rather than visually rendered subjects.

Direction Now is, in many ways, a celebration of Abstraction in Art. In what ways do you see your work using abstraction? What drew you to using abstraction?
I suppose my approach to abstraction came out of American Abstract Expressionism which was coming into its own when I was young. I can also remember going to the opening of Direction 1 at the Macquarie Galleries when I first came to Sydney, which I found very exciting. Over the years my work has, I think, forged its own path, and through all its stages formed its own language, and always, I hope, being true to my particular touch. This path is well illustrated in my book with writing by David Malouf, Terence Maloon and Anna Johnson, published by Tim Olsen and available through Olsen Irwin Gallery, Sydney. 

Planet (2012), mixed media on linen, 89 x 130cm, courtesy of the artist and Olsen Irwin Gallery, Sydney.

Can you tell us what your motivations are for choosing the particular materials you work with in your artistic practice?
I love using disparate materials ( both in painting and sculpture) to compose a work. I am currently using acrylic paint which allows me to add collage. 

Arcadia (2012), oil on linen, 131 x 99cm, courtesy of the artist and Olsen Irwin Gallery, Sydney.

What’s next for you? Do you have any big projects coming up?
I have a few public exhibitions coming up, the first a survey at the Drill Hall Gallery at the National University, Canberra and a retrospective exhibition in the planning stages in Reims, France. I will be having an exhibition in Brisbane next year with Bruce Heiser Gallery and later on at Olsen Irwin Gallery in Sydney. 

If our readers want to find out more information about your work, where can they go?
They can view my website by visiting

The Yellow Wind (2010), acrylic on linen, 56 x 71cm, courtesy of the artist and Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne. 

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