For Elisabeth Cummings – perhaps one of the most highly regarded artists of her generation – it would seem it was a long road towards recognition. According to Drill Hall Gallery curator of exhibitions, Tony Oates, while the artist was always admired among her peers, her more recent acclaim is perhaps a result of what he calls her “unflagging commitment”. He continues, “Cummings has been making fine paintings for many decades – after a while people have to take notice. Her paintings show an inventive intelligence – a vitality that reflects her vision of light, space and environment.”
The show will, as Oates explains, “represent her immense oeuvre and characterise the adventurous spirit of investigation and vitality that is inherent in her art practice.”
Cummings studied at the National Art School in the 1950s, an exciting period in Australian art when ideas of contemporary art were beginning to enter teaching. The artist’s practice walks a delicate line between figurative and abstraction, leaving the audience to question whether they are observing an interior scene or a landscape and maintaining connections with her revered forerunners such as Bonnard and Vuillard.
Oates believes Cummings’s work possesses a quintessential Australian character, explaining, “they evoke our ‘bush’ environ with great sophistication.” Describing Elisabeth Cummings: Interior Landscapes as a beautifully curated exhibition, the show promises to explore the “breadth of work of one of Australia’s most senior living artists.”