'National treasure', 'legend,' 'inspiration'. These were just some of the reactions from my Instagram followers when I posted that I would be interviewing Guy Warren.
Guy is about to turn 100 years old. He has no less than 5 shows opening this year. But he is also plain spoken, practical, down to earth and modest. In typical style he seemed pleased when I told him of the Instagram reaction, but he quickly changed the subject.
Guy has had an extraordinary career. He has won numerous awards including the Archibald prize, exhibited in over 50 solo shows and a phenomenal 6 survey shows (with more to come this year), and received two honorary doctorates, the Order of Australia and the Australia Medal. His work is included in many public, private and corporate collections across the world.
Although his paintings include portraiture and abstraction, much of his work is concerned with the landscape. His paintings reflect his interest in the idea that we humans belong to and are part of the landscape. This is a view which he formed when posted in Bougainville in World War II and it has echoed through his work down the decades.
The fact that Guy will soon be turning 100 meant that I was one of many requesting an interview. Even so, he was generous with his time and shared his recollections of the Great Depression and WWII, of the tumultuous changes in the artworld in the 50s and 60s, and of his travels to Alice Springs, New Guinea and London. We talk about the successes but also a couple of regrets.
To hear the podcast episode click on 'play' beneath the above feature photo.
I'll also be posting a short video of Guy in his studio on the Talking with Painters YouTube channel and to this website soon.
'The 100th year', King Street Gallery on William, Sydney, 16 March to 10 April 2021'From the Mountain to the Sky: Guy Warren drawings', National Centre for Drawing, National Art School, Sydney, 17 April - 22 May Gallery Lane Cove, Sydney, survey show, date TBAUniversity of Wollongong Gallery, Wollongong, date TBASolo show, Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne, 30 November to 18 December
Links to things and people we talk about in this episode
Guy Warren at King Street Gallery on WilliamGuy Warren at Nicholas Thompson GalleryTony TucksonKlaus FriedebergerErwin FabianFred Williams Bert FlugelmanIan FairweatherJoanna Logue David Attenborough
'To Jamberoo with love #1', 2020, acrylic on linen, 40 x 50cm Image courtesy of King Street Gallery on William and the artist
'Time out #1', 2020, watercolour on paper, 57 x 77cmImage courtesy of King Street Gallery on William and the artist
'Bush walk', 2015, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60cmImage courtesy of King Street Gallery on William and the artist
'Gaia at Badgery's', 1990, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 274 x 274cmImage: National Gallery of Australia Collection
'Flugelman with Wingman', 1985, oil on canvas, 225 x 178cmWinner of the Archibald Prize 1985Image: Art Gallery of NSW website
'Prisoner', 1962Image: Canberra Museum and Gallery collection
'Hobart series no.8', 1979, watercolour on hand made paper, formed and manipulated Collection Art Gallery of NSWImage: Art Gallery of NSW website
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