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Ruth Waller Lecture: Looking at Morandi and Seeing Bonnard

My recent interest in adopting the imagery of vessels and vases as motifs for exploring how painting can engage with the play of figure and ground, has led me to look again at Modernist painter Giorgio Morandi, and consider the radical ways he worked with his studio assembly of vessels to activate and play out some of painting’s subtleties, ambiguities and anomalies.

Having immersed myself in Morandi for several weeks thinking about how to approach this lecture, I recently had the immense pleasure of seeing the exhibition of Pierre Bonnard’s paintings at the NGV in Melbourne, and I was struck by the quite different ways he engaged with the subject of still life, particularly in his dining room compositions of the nineteen-thirties.

In this talk I will attempt to account just what draws me to these two painters and the ways each has contributed so distinctively to our appreciation of painting’s complexity and nuance.

Ruth Waller
Artist and Honorary Associate Professor
ANU School of Art & Design

This lecture was given as part of the Drill Hall Gallery Lecture Series on October 15, 2023.

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.