|Name|| Dr Debra Dawes
|Current Role(s)|| Director, Graduate School
Senior Lecturer, Painting
Debra Dawes holds a Doctorate of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong and a Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts from Sydney College of the Arts, where she studied painting in the mid 1980s and was at the same time co-director of Union Street Gallery in Sydney. In 1982 she was awarded a Diploma in Visual Art from the Newcastle College of Advanced Education. Dawes has been a recipient of numerous Australia Council grants.
Dawes' work is represented in several collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Western Australia, National Gallery of Australia and New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale.
Dawes’ work has been included in major exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, MCA, The National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of South Australia, University Art Museum, The University of Queensland, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane and Monash University Gallery, Melbourne.
In 2005, Debra Dawes held a survey exhibition, Everydaynow, at the Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra. A full colour catalogue accompanied the exhibition with a new essay by Helen Grace. In 2006, Dawes' work was included in the Adelaide Biennial, 21st Century Modern exhibition.
In 2007, Dawes was included in the MCA's Cross Currents: Focus on Contemporary Art exhibition. Her most recent solo exhibition in two parts, At Her Majesty’s Pleasure, was at Turner Galleries, Perth June – July, 2012 and May - June 2012 at Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney.
For a detailed CV and illustrated information about Dawes' work please go to Debra Dawes' website or email
There is a long and intensely explored tradition of geometric abstraction in painting that comes from the philosophical position of abstraction/autonomy. It is difficult to harness this visual language into debates concerning social transactions. This, however, is the premise of Dawes’ exploration of the radical dialogue between geometric abstraction and contemporary politics.
In the series Clockwise (2004), the gap between art and life is specifically addressed. The aim is to recharge existing paradigms with contemporary social and political concerns. Each canvas within the series of 12 records the rhythm of the artist’s presence and absence in the studio over a 12-month period. The series radicalises the tradition of the sublime in abstraction and reorients it towards a contemporary paranoia of accountability.
Cover up (2006) responds to the post-9/11 political landscape through the lens of deception and suspicion. Cover up challenged the strategies deployed in the name of ‘border protection’ in Australia. An arctic camouflage net positioned in the gallery predetermines the passage of the viewer in such a way that the viewer is caught between two interconnecting realities: the net and its shadow. One is purely illusory and the other, a device of deception.
Double-dealing (2007) deploys two systems of spatial construction, Renaissance perspective and Modernist planar space – opposed visual and philosophical systems – to interrogate the tensions and the synergies between the two. Double-dealing seeks to throw light on contradiction and duplicity, thus challenging viewers to negotiate their own shifting realities between these systems.
2012 At Her Majesty’s Pleasure 2011, Turner Galleries, Perth
At Her Majesty’s Pleasure 2010, Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney
2010 Complete?, Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney
Open studio – Untitled, Gallery, Sydney
2008 Blind faith, Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney
2006 Cover up, Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney
2005 Everydaynow, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra
clock wise, SCA Galleries, University of Sydney
2004 clock wise, Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Dank Street, Sydney
2002 Afterthought, Sherman Galleries Hargrave, Sydney
2001 Glare, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney
2000 Afterthought, Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne
1999 Lifting the Sky, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney
1997 Trace of Passage, Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne
1996 Gray Spectra, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney
1995 Gingham, Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne
1993 Starlite, Art Gallery of New South Wales & Wollongong City Gallery
1992 On the Edge, Deutscher Fine Art, Melbourne
1991 Houndstooth, Mori Gallery, Sydney
1989 Abstract Painting 1989, Mori Gallery, Sydney
1988 Abstract Paintings, Mori Gallery & George Paton Gallery, Melbourne
1987 Psychedelia and Other States, Mori Gallery
1986 Three Narratives: An Autobiography, Union Street Gallery, Sydney
1983 Drawing and Paintings, A-Weg Gallery, Groningen, The Netherlands
Selected Group Exhibitions
2012 Coral: art, science, life, curated by Jude Philp, collaboration with Jacky Redgate, Macleay Museum, University of Sydney, Sydney
gbk @ Melbourne Art Fair
The Baker’s Dozen, curated by Lorna Grear, UTS Gallery, University of Technology, Sydney
2011 Twining: Weaving and Abstraction, curated by Fiona MacDonald and
Karen Mills, 24hr Art, Darwin
gbk @ KIAF, Seoul
gbk @ ART HK, Hong Kong
2010 SNO/ONS, SNO Contemporary Art Projects, Sydney
Redlands Westpac Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney
gbk @ Melbourne Art Fair
An Oeuvre both Abundant and Diverse, SCA Galleries,
Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney
2008 gbk @ Hong Kong Art Fair
gbk @ Melbourne Art Fair
Open Gallery (retrospective), Art & About, City of Sydney, Sydney
2007 Cross Currents: Focus on Contemporary Australian Art,
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
gbk @ Silvershot, Melbourne
Come hither: Interpretations of the boudoir, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery
2006 21st Century Modern: 2006 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
gbk @ Melbourne Art Fair, Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
2005 International Painting on Paper, Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney
2004 Open Gallery, Art & About, 2004, City of Sydney
Sight-Seeing, War Memorial Art Gallery, Sydney College of the Arts
Talking About Abstraction, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, The University of New South Wales, Sydney
Sight-Seeing, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Down Town Gallery, Beijing
2003 Shangrila Collective, Art Space, Woolloomoloo, Sydney
2002 Good Vibrations, Heidi Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Melbourne
Group Exhibition, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
2001 Phenomena: New Painting in Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne
Group Exhibition, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
2000 Suburb, Museum of Sydney, Sydney
On The Brink: Abstraction of the 90s, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Melbourne
1998 VERVE: An exhibition of Visual Poetry and Poetic Visuals, S. H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust of Australia, for the Sydney Writer’s Festival
1997-98 Containment, Plimsoll Gallery, University of Tasmania, Hobart
1996-98 Flagging the Republic, Sherman Galleries, regional gallery tour
1997 Geometric Painting in Australia 1941-1997, University Art Museum, University of Queensland, Brisbane
Ornamentalism, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane and Cairns Regional Gallery
1996 Anon, collaboration with Jacky Redgate, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
1994 The John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize, National Gallery of Victoria
Reinventing the Grid, Robert Lindsay Gallery, Melbourne
1992 Wish Hard, Biennale of Sydney Satellite, Wollongong City Gallery
1991 Rules for Drawing, Mori Gallery, Sydney
Microcosm, Garry Anderson Gallery, Sydney
The Subversive Stitch, Monash University Gallery Melbourne and Mori Annexe, Sydney
1990-91 Abstraction, Art Gallery of New South Wales and touring
1990 Pure, Queensland College Art Gallery, Brisbane
Architecture of Light, Mori Gallery, Sydney
1989 Pure, Mori Gallery, Sydney
Australian Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Colour Blind, Mori Gallery, Sydney
1987 Feminist Narratives, George Paton Gallery, University of Melbourne
1986 Union Street, George Paton Gallery, University of Melbourne and College Gallery, Brisbane
1985 Joint Show, Union Street Gallery, Sydney
1984 Last Past the Postism, Art Unit, Sydney
1983 Installation in collaboration with Jelle van den Berg, Academia del Arte Florence
1982 Curatorial Committee and Exhibitor in Women and Arts Festival Gallery 62, Newcastle
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, NSW
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
University of Wollongong, NSW
Murdoch University, Perth
UQ Art Museum, University of Queensland
Macquarie Bank, Sydney
Allen, Allen & Hemsley
News Limited, Australia
Wesfarmers Arts, Perth
Liz Miller, PhD, 'The integration of contemporary art: Reversing institutional alienation'
Ernest Aaron, MFA, 'An investigation into the artistic representation of the ideas associated with the psychology of visual perception'
Erin de la Cruz, MFA, 'Illusions of paradise: The role art plays in tropical tourism'
Sepideh Farzam, MFA, 'TBA'
Karena Keys, MFA, 'Painting as sculpture and interior occupation'
Kate Wilkie, MFA, 'Mimesis and index symbiosis'
Awards & Grants
2010 Redlands Westpac Art Prize, Highly Commended
2004 Recipient of Australia Council for the Arts Grant
1997 Recipient of Australia Council for the Arts Grant
1994 Recipient of Australia Council for the Arts Grant
1990 Recipient of Australia Council for the Arts Grant
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