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CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery

Bitumen & Dirt

Wayne Eager, 30 years in the Territory
Bitumen & Dirt exhibition thumnail

Bitumen & Dirt – Wayne Eager: 30 Years in the Territory is a survey exhibition of paintings and prints by prominent Alice Springs-based landscape artist Wayne Eager. Featuring 78 works from public and private collections around Australia, including 13 from Charles Darwin University Art Collection, the exhibition charts Eager’s career since he first arrived in the Northern Territory in 1990.  

Early observations of the landscape have resulted in a large opus of figurative works in a gestural realist style, however Eager’s visual language changed in the mid-1990s to become distinctly abstract. He has honed his approach over the years to create unique and densely layered paintings of shapes, lines and dashes, that evoke the lacework of dirt tracks and bitumen roads linking remote Aboriginal communities and outstations with the steadfast ‘line’ of the Stuart Highway - uniting the Territory from north to south. Together, the works can be read as a ‘map’ marking the far reaches of the Territory and its various topographies and juxtapositions of green, wet, humid tropics and red, dry, arid desert.  

Wayne Eager has lived in Central Australia since 1992, living and working at Haast’s Bluff for five years and was later a field officer for Papunya Tula Artists from 1996-2005. Since then, he has been a professional painting mentor and workshop facilitator for artists working through Ananguku Arts in the APY Land communities.    

His work adheres to a modernist abstraction. He was a founding member of the Roar Studios in Melbourne in 1982. He has regularly exhibited in solo exhibitions at galleries around Australia. This is his first survey exhibition in a public gallery.  

The exhibition is curated by Kellie Joswig and will tour to Araluen Arts Centre in early 2021. 

Image: Wayne Eager, West MacDonnell Ranges, 1994, oil on 3-ply, 30 h x 214 w cm. Acquired through the Art Acquisition Fund, 2021. Charles Darwin University Art Collection, CDU3359

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