Mark Ward, Bedroom assemblage, Guerella, (detail), 1989, oil, wood & metal, 44 x 66 x 4cm Photo: Courtesy of Artist

Mark Ward + Mirabel FitzGerald
Back to where we started
Sat 7 September – Sun 29 September 2019

Opening Night: Friday 6 September, 6 – 8pm
Public Programs: Artist talks, Saturday 7 September, 11am
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm

A collaboration between work and life partners Mark Ward and Mirabel Fitzgerald, Back to where we started reflects five decades of work inspired by the south coast of NSW.

The show includes works on paper, paintings, assemblage and free-standing sculptures. Some early works are included to highlight the constant renewal found at revisited sources.

Mark Ward’s work emphasises found and repurposed materials, where three-dimensional forms become the inspiration for two-dimensional oils and linocuts. Mirabel Fitzgerald’s prints and drawings reflect and celebrate the natural environment, though often in abstract form.

The pair have been living and working permanently at Guerilla Bay: “Picking something up in the bush or on the high-tide line, our eyes meet and we each know what the other is thinking – yes, that bit of bleached blue plastic will be a cloud, a king parrot, a sleeping child.”

Opening night

Join us for the opening night of Mark Ward and Mirabel FitzGerald’s exhibition Back to where we started. This is opportunity to meet the artists, enjoy a glass of wine and dive into lively conversation with fellow art-lovers.

About the Artists

Mark Ward
At eight, Ward spent an entire summer trying to chisel a log into a boat. After moving to the country from Mosman, he made billy carts from tip pickings, and built cubby houses in the pine trees. As a teen, he built a large aviary on the side of his house, where pegs, bottle tops and oil paint became exotic birds.

Ward pursued a professional career as a painter, printmaker and sculptor after graduating from the National Art School in 1963; scene artists for television and theatre in Sydney and Melbourne, teaching art in schools, and illustrating numerous children’s books.

In the late 1960s Ward visited the NSW south coast, where he felt immersed in an environment rich in inspiration and opportunity, and an artistic career was cemented in his mind.

“The medium is often recycled material and detritus found on the beach or hinterland beyond – elements within my sculptural works remain potent with their previous life,” says Ward, “my art practice includes divers themes but a consistent sense of place”. More recently, stylised figures made from found materials, some with kinetic functions, have emerged from the studio.

Ward is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, the NSW State Parliament collection, and in regional galleries and private collection in Australia and overseas. He has exhibited continuously since 1968, including 14 solo shows.

Mirabel FitzGerald
Mirabel FitzGerald has visited Guerilla Bay since childhood and her work for Coming back to where we started is a homage to this place she now calls home. Some of her prints and drawing from the 1970s and 80s are included in the exhibition.

FitzGerald’s images may be sourced from forest and coast but they are not pictorial landscapes. Instead, particular elements are internalised and fused, seen and remembered. The textural possibilities of print allow her to reimagine complex patterns – intricate beetle trails in the wood of fallen eucalypts suggest stands of trees or movements of the tides, and blotchy bark patterns of spotted gums which are also found in the colours and markings of shale rocks.

Graduating from London’s Byam Shaw School of Art in 1965, and completed her Masters of Fine Arts from COFA (UNSW) in 1997. FitzGerald was appointed to Sydney College of the Arts at the University of Sydney in 1979, and taught and coordinated the Printmedia Studio until retiring as Honorary Associate Professor in 2006. She has exhibited in Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom, Thailand and China and her work is held in private and public collections including the National Gallery of Australia and the Art Gallery of NSW.

FitzGerald says despite most of her etchings being editioned, she primarily uses the medium to explore her emotional investment in place, “I’m as interested in variations and unique states as much as settling on a final image”.

Public Programs

Artist talks – Sat 7 September, 11:00am
Join Mark and Mirabel as they discuss their exhibition and the collaboration which produced it. This is also a great opportunity for the public to hear directly from the artists about the ideas and themes explored in the exhibition and their extensive art practices more broadly.

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The Basil Sellers Exhibition Centre recognises Aboriginal people as the original inhabitants and custodians of all land and water in the Eurobodalla and respects their enduring cultural and spiritual connection to it. The Bas acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land in which we live and pays respect to Elders past, present and future.