Madonna Staunton: Out of a Clear Blue Sky

WHEN : 30th August - 1st March
WHERE : Gallery of Modern Art / Queensland Art Gallery

As Staunton’s first major exhibition at QAGOMA since 1994, this presentation reveals the artist’s full progression through the restrained elegance of her collage and sculptural assemblage, to the more philosophical and personal content of her print-making and recent painting. 

‘This exhibition continues the Gallery’s important program of exhibitions celebrating the work of Queensland artists, including recent shows focussed on Ian Fairweather, Richard Stringer and Sam Fullbrook,’ he said. 

‘Madonna Staunton: Out of a Clear Blue Sky’ includes more than 70 works – drawn from the QAGOMA, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland Art Museum and Griffith University collections and from private collections – and reveals that the artist’s unique collage and assemblage practice has always had the fundamentals of painting at its centre. 

‘This exhibition would not have been possible without Madonna’s generous input, as well as the support of Glencore, which allows us to stage these important exhibitions celebrating Queensland artists,’ said Mr Saines. 

Exhibition curator, Peter McKay, Curator, Contemporary Australian Art, QAGOMA, said the exhibition revealed the aesthetic and intellectual continuity that has underpinned Staunton’s remarkable capacity to change and adapt her practice through the various stages of her career. 

‘Early abstract paintings such as August 1966 and Easter 1967, illustrate Staunton’s confident understanding of colour theory, and how they paved the way for her collages, as illustrated by Untitled1973, a large-scale paper text work from QAGOMA’s collection,’ he said. 

Staunton’s mother Madge Staunton (née Jones, 1917–86), was the first to encourage her daughter’s creativity. Madge’s colour theory exercise books, on display as part of the exhibition, became the foundational knowledge and inspiration for Staunton. 

Staunton moved away from conventional art making materials and methodologies in the 1990-2000s and began making coded arrangements of painted timber and found objects. Examples in the exhibition include Assemblage with plank 1988 and Key 2002, a sculpture incorporating a Cabriole chair leg, stencils and piano keys. 

Recent works on display include the vibrant still-life arrangement Sunflowers 2013 and the painting that inspired the title of the exhibition Out of a clear blue sky 2013 that mark her assured and decisive return to painting, focussed on expressing her personal vision of life and human nature. 

‘Madonna Staunton: Out of a Clear Blue Sky’ is showing in the Glencore Queensland Artists’ Gallery at the Queensland Art Gallery from 30 August 2014 to 1 March 2015. It is a free exhibition.