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William Robinson Gallery

Introduction

The William Robinson Gallery is situated in Old Government House on QUT's Gardens Point campus in Brisbane City. Honouring the life and work of this distinguished contemporary Australian artist and QUT alumnus, the Gallery presents annual exhibitions, produces publications and films, and is currently collaborating with Queensland Art Gallery on a conservation research project investigating Robinson's paintings.

About the artist

Born in Brisbane in 1936, William Robinson is a celebrated contemporary landscape artist and portrait painter. After graduating in 1962 from Brisbane's Central Technical College, an early forerunner of QUT's Gardens Point Campus, he began a long and distinguished career teaching art at several of the University's predecessor institutions. Robinson left teaching in 1989 to work full time as an artist and since then his work has achieved national prominence. With the award of two of Australia's most prestigious art prizes – the Archibald Prize for portraiture in 1987 and 1995, and the Wynne prize for landscape painting in 1990 and 1996 – Robinson's career as an artist flourished. His extensive links with QUT as a student and senior arts educator were augmented by the award of an honorary doctorate from the University in 1998. In 2007 the artist was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his outstanding achievement and service to the arts.

Robinson is critically acclaimed for his striking compositions of south-east Queensland rainforests and seascapes of northern New South Wales. His work has changed the way we perceive the landscape through his distinctive, multi-viewpoint perspective. Robinson's work is represented in all major Australian public art museums as well as in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Vatican Museums, Vatican City, and the British Museum, London.

QUT Art Collection

With more than 165 artworks, QUT possesses the largest public collection of Robinson's work in the world. Holdings include paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings and ceramics spanning the period from the mid-1960s to 2013. These works trace the major developments in Robinson's art through the genres that have dominated his mature output: the interior, farmyard, landscape, seascape and self-portraiture. In 2007, QUT established a special acquisitions fund to purchase key works by the artist for the Collection and several paintings, sculptures and drawings have been acquired to augment works generously gifted by Robinson and other donors with the major objective of building a representative collection across the various media through purchase, gift, and bequest.

Exhibitions and publications

The William Robinson Gallery presents a curated program of exhibitions of the artist's work drawn from the QUT Art Collection, augmented by works borrowed from Australian public and private collections. Since opening in 2009, the Gallery has presented eight exhibitions, including the largest survey of Robinson's work to date, The transfigured landscape. Held in 2011, and presented across QUT's premier visual art institutions, the William Robinson Gallery and QUT Art Museum, this exhibition coincided with the artist's 75th birthday, and brought together key works from Robinson's oeuvre, drawn from public and private collections including an unparalleled selection of the artist's critically acclaimed Creation series. A major publication was also produced to coincide with the exhibition and was the first book-length publication on the artist's work to be produced since 2001.

Other notable exhibitions include Inspirations, guest-curated by The Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO, and Insights, guest-curated by celebrated art historian Betty Churcher AO, author David Malouf AO FAHA, and artist Davida Allen.

Films

QUT has produced two short films about the artist's work. The first, William Robinson: A painter's journey, traces the places that have inspired the artist. The second, Inspirations, was produced in 2015 on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name, and celebrates the connections Robinson has woven between himself, his subjects, and his students. It features the exhibition's curator, The Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO, who interviews Robinson's past students, as well as current primary and secondary school students from Brisbane, about the importance of art teaching.

Conservation research project

In 2014, QUT began a collaborative research conservation project with the Queensland Art Gallery that seeks to identify the painting materials and methods used by William Robinson over the 45-year span of his artistic practice. The outcome of the project is to develop best practice guidelines for the conservation and collection management of his paintings.