‘My own sort of heaven’

‘My own sort of heaven’

A life of Rosalie Gascoigne

Authored by: Nicola Francis

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Widely regarded as a major Australian artist, Rosalie Gascoigne first exhibited in 1974 at the age of fifty-seven. She rapidly achieved critical acclaim for her assemblages which were her response to the Monaro landscape surrounding Canberra. The great blonde paddocks, vast skies and big raucous birds contrasted with the familiar lush green harbour city of Auckland she had left behind. Her medium: weathered discards from the landscape. By her death in 1999, her work had been purchased for major public art collections in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and New York, and had been exhibited across Europe and Asia.

Gascoigne’s story is often cast in simple terms—an inspirational tale of an older woman ‘finding herself’ later in life and gaining artistic acclaim. But the reality is much more complex and contingent. This biography explores Gascoigne’s achievement of her ‘own sort of heaven’ through the frame of the narrative she told once she had gained fame, using a series of interviews she gave from 1980 to 1998. It revolves around her frequently stated sense of feeling an outsider, her belief that artists are born not made, and other factors central to the development and impact of her work. Migrating to Australia from New Zealand in 1943, Gascoigne experienced the dramatic social changes of the 1960s and 1970s and benefited from the growth of cultural life in Canberra, a developing Australian art industry, and changing conceptions of aesthetic beauty.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
ANU Press
Biography Series
Arts & Humanities: Art & Music, Biography & Autobiography

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