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Strocchi exhibition spans two decades

By Leanne Miles

Brancusi Palms, Marina Strocchi, 2003, acrylic on paper, 75 x 56.5cm, CDU Art Collection, CDU1852 Brancusi Palms, Marina Strocchi, 2003, acrylic on paper, 75 x 56.5cm, CDU Art Collection, CDU1852

An exhibition spanning more than 20 years of work by renowned Central Australia-based artist Marina Strocchi will open at the Charles Darwin University Art Gallery in Darwin this month. 

The exhibition, “Marina Strocchi: a survey, 1991-2015”, consists of more than 90 works including paintings, screen-prints, etchings, lithographs, ceramics and drawings.

CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery Curator Joanna Barrkman said the exhibition was a mid-career survey exhibition of an established NT based artist and would be presented by CDU and Artback NT.

“This survey exhibition is a gaze into the wondrous art of Marina Strocchi and her musings on life in the Red Centre and the Top End, and other places in between,” Ms Barrkman said.

After travelling the world, soaking up the art of Europe, Asia, South America, the United States and India, it was a visit to the red centre in 1992 that paved Ms Strocchi’s direction as an artist.

“It was a chance visit to Haast’s Bluff where I gave some impromptu painting and printmaking workshops as part of a five-week trip around Central Australia,” Ms Strocchi said. “I was inspired by the landscape and began a small series of paintings of the Central Desert mountains and hills.”

Ms Strocchi and her partner and fellow artist, Wayne Eager, returned to Haast’s Bluff several months later at the invitation of the community to help establish what would become known as the Ikuntji Arts Centre. They stayed there for five and a half years before moving to Alice Springs and establishing studios of their own.

“Central Australia was awe inspiring – the landscape and its vastness, the extreme weather and the people,” she said. “It is where I really started my work as a landscape artist.”

The exhibition spans the 24 years since Marina Strocchi arrived in the Northern Territory, and includes small early landscapes in oil, and some in gouache, key large abstracted landscapes as well as many works on paper. Some of her paintings have been referred to as “pictographs”, made up of signs, symbols and hieroglyphs and are laden with iconic motifs of jabiru, fish, windmills, buffalo, feral cats, mangroves and mulga.

“Marina Strocchi: a survey, 1991-2015” will run from 12 November 2015 to 19 February 2016 at the CDU Art Gallery Building Orange 12 at CDU’s Casuarina campus. Ms Strocchi will deliver a floor talk on Thursday 12 November from 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

Her print, “Mystery train” is the official branding of the Northern Institute at CDU and will feature in the exhibition. Several other works produced during her two-week residency at Northern Editions at CDU in 2006 will also feature in the exhibition. She will deliver a lecture at the Northern Institute, Yellow Building 1, Level 2, Room 48, CDU, Casuarina campus, Tuesday 10 November 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

The exhibition includes works borrowed from the Araluen Arts Centre, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and numerous private collections.

For more information visit W: cdu.edu.au/artgallery