Feeling abstract?
Paintings from the UWA Art Collection, 1950–1990
17 July – 27 November 2021

Feeling abstract? explores abstract painting over a forty year period through works in the UWA Art Collection. The exhibition shows key examples of Australian abstraction of the twentieth century, including works of gestural abstraction from the 1950s, hard-edge painting from the 1960s, and from the revival of expressive painting in the late-1970s and 1980s.

The exhibition considers abstraction as a broad and diffuse phenomenon in twentieth-century painting, and integrates works by artists who seek various kinds of autonomy for their painting, whether by emphasising colour, line or shape; and those who employ abstraction as part of a figurative or semifigurative practice. As such, the exhibition showcases the work of artists as different as Sydney Ball, George Haynes, Margot Lewers, Erica McGilchrist, Tony Tuckson, and Jenny Watson.

Feeling abstract? is a unique opportunity to view dynamic, large-scale paintings rarely displayed, as well as a number of major works of Australian painting which, though recently included in major national exhibitions, have not been shown at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery for several decades.

One generation on from the revival of painting that occurred in the 1980s, the exhibition asks what artists practising today might be able to learn from the broader history of Australian abstract art. And where painting, and particularly abstract painting, can go next.

Media Release

Feeling abstract? media release [2MB]

Education kit

Feeling abstract? Education kit [3.5MB]

Transcript - Artist interview

Trevor Vickers interviewed by Sally Quin [279KB]


Feeling abstract? catalogue [1MB]

Curated by Sally Quin, Curator of the UWA Art Collection.


Image: Sydney Ball, Ispahan, 1967, acrylic on canvas, 182.8 x 341 cm, The University of Western Australia Art Collection, Gift of Dr Albert Gild, 1969.

Artist's talk

George Haynes Artist Talk from the exhibition Feeling Abstract? Paintings from the UWA Art Collection, 1950-1990

Connect with us

e0641dca-b792-4ed7-9ab6-94ec2af216d6@2.00x Created with sketchtool.


Follow us for news and events information

1317a098-eccf-409d-b085-ce2bd822efb1@2.00x Created with sketchtool.

Subscribe now

Get the latest news in our monthly newsletter

Sign up form
b2a21eb1-9700-4493-a8e9-8c21b4766ac7@2.00x Created with sketchtool.

Become a friend

Join the conversation and become a friend of the gallery

Become a friend


Behind-the-scenes information, updates and more