Virginia Cuppaidge - the nature of abstraction

Image: Virginia CUPPAIDGE Center of the Beginning 1988 oil on canvas 212.5 x 454.0cm Presented in 2002 by Mrs Judy Cuppaidge Newcastle Art Gallery collection

Renowned Australian painter Virginia Cuppaidge accompanied Foundation members and guests on an exclusive journey into abstraction at a special Foundation preview on Friday 10 May.

The event, held the evening prior to the exhibition’s official opening, was an opportunity for supporters to gain an insight from the artist into works mapping her distinguished career spanning the period from 1972 to 2012. The exhibition marks and celebrates Cuppaidge’s return to Australia after four decades in New York.

Gallery Director Lauretta Morton welcomed the artist, foundation members and guests explaining the exhibition brought together works from the NAG collection, key state and national collections and the artists own holdings, many of which are rarely seen.

Cuppaidge shared with guests that seeing these works together was “a dream come true” and the Newcastle Art Gallery was an ideal setting to “fully experience” them.

She guided guests on a personal tour sharing anecdotes and answering questions about specific works and her artistic process. After the tour, Virginia lingered over food and wine answering questions about her art and fascinating life experiences.

Originally from Brisbane, Cuppaidge studied in Sydney before moving to New York to “see the best abstract art going on at the time”. She stayed in New York for more than 40 years establishing herself on the international scene and as one of Australia’s foremost abstract painters.

Her enduring connection to Newcastle continues with the donation of her geometric painting Saix 1974 to the Gallery collection. She is now living in Newcastle writing a memoir of her experiences as a part of the New York art scene during one of its most exciting periods.

Suzie Galwey