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Judy Pennefather, Bush walkTitle
Bush Walk

Location
In storage

Media
Painting

Medium
Oil

Credit
Winner Calleen Award 1993

Accession number
CAL1993.1

Excerpt from The Calleen Collection by Peter Haynes (2019)

Born in Sydney in 1934 Judy Pennefather began her art studies at the Royal Art Society in the early 1970s. This was the beginning of a long association with that august institution including becoming its first female President in 2000, a position she held until her retirement in 2015. She received her Royal Art Society Diploma in 1984 and became a Fellow of the Society in 1988. Her studies there were initially with portrait painter Allan Hansen, and portraiture is the area in which her work is mostly concentrated. Her proficiency in that field is well-recognised most notably in her being a finalist in the Archibald Prize (1980), the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (1988) and the Portia Geach Memorial Award on a number of occasions including being the winner in 1980. Pennefather has also turned her talents to other genres and landscape is foremost among these.

Bush Walk is a literally inviting picture in the manner in which the artist has opened it to intimate viewer engagement. The foreground occupies two thirds of the composition. Its central feature is a path that continues to the front edge of the picture plane. It ambles through the painting to an area bordered by trees where it drops off into the deep space of the back ground. The path is at its widest at the front where its openness draws the viewer in to visually follow its course through the bush. Pennefather’s use of colour is dramatic and the splashes of purple dispersed throughout the picture exemplify this. These can be read as literal elements of the landscape (rocks, foliage) or as tools to move the viewer’s eye through the composition. Apart from the trees the artist is not really interested in realistic depiction preferring inference as a means of evoking the beauties of the walk. The foreground is a patterned abstraction of variously coloured swathes of brushstrokes whose directional sweep create the contours of the topography and instil a lyrical shift that evokes the landscape and its moods.