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  • Date26 May, 2024
  • Time11:30 am
  • LocationGreat Hall, NGV International, Melbourne
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Join author Quentin Sprague in conversation with art critic and art historian Victoria Perin, and interim Director of the ANU Drill Hall Gallery, Tony Oates as they discuss Ken Whisson: Painting & Drawing and, more broadly, the function of biography in relation to art history. Signed copies of the book will be available from the DHG Publishing table.

Celebrate the launch of this extensive monograph on one of Australia’s most prolific artists. Richly illustrated with over 300 plates, and drawing on extensive interviews and archival research, Ken Whisson: Painting & Drawing charts a seven-decade course through Whisson’s unwaveringly idiosyncratic practice. It covers his early years in Melbourne, his long residence in the Italian city of Perugia, and his return to Australia in 2014. The picture that emerges is of an artist driven by the vagaries of memory and an enduring belief in creative intuition: a combination that resulted in one of the most original bodies of work in Australian art. Authored by Quentin Sprague and designed by Small Tasks, Ken Whisson: Painting & Drawing is co-published by Drill Hall Gallery Publishing and The Miegunyah Press.

Quentin Sprague is a writer based on Australia’s south-east coast, on Wadawurrung country. His essays and criticism appear regularly in The Monthly, and in artist monographs and exhibition catalogues. His first book, The Stranger Artist, won the 2021 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for nonfiction.

Victoria Perin is an art critic and art historian living in Naarm/Melbourne. She is a founding member of Memo Review, where her writing appears regularly. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne. Her research examines local art histories, with a focus on postwar art and printmaking.

Anthony Oates is the interim director of the Drill Hall Gallery at The Australian National University, where he is also Exhibitions Curator. He has curated numerous exhibitions at the gallery, which recently include Backwash (co-curated with Oscar Capezio, 2023), SYNERGY: Tony Tuckson – drawing into painting (co-curated with Terence Maloon, 2023), and Un-titled: Elizabeth Newman (2021).

For the very first time, Drill Hall Gallery Publishing will be showcasing it’s range of titles at the NGV Melbourne Art Book Fair. Now in its tenth year, the fair brings together local and international publishers, artists, and designers, fostering an exchange of ideas and collaboration between industry professionals and printed matter enthusiasts alike. The annual Stallholder Fair transforms the NGV’s Great Hall into a marketplace of art books, publishing and design. Featuring more than 100 stallholders.

Part of Melbourne Design Week 2024, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.


Buy Now / $150 + $20 postage

  • TitleKen Whisson: Painting & Drawing
  • Specs536 pages, 400 colour illustrations, 300 x 240 mm, section-sewn binding, clothbound hardcover with half jacket
  • PublisherPublished 2023 by DHG Publishing and Miegunyah Press
  • DetailsAuthored by Quentin Sprague, with an introduction by Terence Maloon. Design by Small Tasks.
  • ISBN9780522880090
  • Price$150 + $20 postage / Buy Now

The Drill Hall Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, the traditional custodians of the Canberra region, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.