Virginia Coventry @ Liverpool Street Gallery

Virginia Coventry @ Liverpool Street Gallery

 Colour, Composition and Non-composition: New work by Virginia Coventry

4-30 September 2010

“Colour…is a kind of bliss…like a closing eyelid, a tiny fainting spell.” —Roland Barthes(i)

“I wanted to get rid of compositional effects, and the obvious way to do it is to be symmetrical.” —Donald Judd(ii)


The exhibition will be opened on Sept 9th by Terence Maloon, Curator of Special Projects, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Virginia Coventry’s work over the last forty years has explored relationships between light, spatiality and colour. She uses the language of abstraction to translate our innermost responses to embodied experience. Most recently, her  work has proposed “an ‘acoustics’ of colour”– a concept that picks up on to the way we use the terms thinking and talking about both colour and sound.

Coventry’s particular association of the dynamic operation of colour in pictorial space with the behaviour of sounds in aural space has allowed her to find fresh ways of working with the possibilities of painting.

For this exhibition, Coventry has created an ensemble of new medium to large-scale paintings conceived specifically for the gallery space. For Coventry both the paintings and the gallery are thought of as spatial fields where the dimensions, the distribution of colours, and the crossing of natural and artificial light might be brought into relationship. Utilising metallic and interference pigments and employing clever compositional strategies, Coventry creates ‘live’, vibrant surfaces that continually change in response to different light and angles of view. Her work in installation creates a mood of joy, calm and contemplation.

In her essay for Virginia Coventry’s 2010 exhibition, Sue Best writes, “In Coventry’s paintings, the literalism of minimalism, the need to attend carefully to what is there, is complemented by the absorbing power of colour and the exquisite feeling it generates.”  (“Colour, Composition and Non- Composition: New work by Virginia Coventry”, Liverpool Street Gallery, 2010).

Terence Maloon states, “The most conspicuous deviation from Minimalism in Coventry’s recent work is that it revels in the once-disavowed quality of  ‘opticality,’ giving generous play to spatial illusion, making a feature of elusive, shifting surfaces infused with metallic pigments and suffused with ringingly bright, saturated hues, the colours exquisitely pitched and infinitesimally nuanced.” (“Echolocation: Virginia Coventry at the Tin Sheds”, Sydney, 2007).


Virginia Coventry

b. 1942, Melbourne, Australia

Virginia Coventry studied painting in Melbourne (RMIT) and at the Slade School, University College, London. Her artistic practice has primarily involved painting and drawing, while she produced photo-based works and installations throughout the1970’s.

Solo Exhibitions

1977   Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide

1979   Art Projects, Melbourne

1980   Watters Gallery, Sydney

Art Projects, Melbourne

Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

1982   Art Projects, Melbourne

1986   Watters Gallery, Sydney

1989   Watters Gallery, Sydney

1991   Watters Gallery, Sydney

Powerhouse Museum, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney

1992   La Trobe Valley Arts Centre, Morwell

1993   Watters Gallery, Sydney

1995   Watters Gallery, Sydney

1997   AGOG, Canberra

1998   Watters Gallery, Sydney

2001   Watters Gallery, Sydney

2002   Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra

2003   Watters Gallery, Sydney

2004   The Light of Open Spaces: A Survey of Virginia Coventry’s Work, The Drill Hall Gallery, ANU, Canberra, Curated by Terence Maloon

2005   Watters Gallery, Sydney

2006   Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra

2007  In Place, Tin Sheds Gallery, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney

2008  Silvershot Gallery, Melbourne

2010  Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney

liverpool street gallery

Director: James Erskine

Gallery Manager: Sarah Hetherington

Gallery Assistant: Juliet Gauchat

243a Liverpool Street

East Sydney NSW 2010


Gallery Hours:

Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm

T +61 2 8353 7799

F +61 2 8353 7798

Established in September 2003, Liverpool Street Gallery is a commercial gallery, exhibiting Australian and International contemporary art.

The gallery represents both established and emerging Australian artists, including: John Beard, Kevin Connor, Virginia Coventry, Steven Harvey, Daniel Hollier, Christopher Horder, Anwen Keeling, Allan Mitelman, Guy Peppin, David Serisier, Jeannette Siebols, Peter Sharp, Aida Tomescu, Kate Turner, Dick Watkins and Karl Wiebke. Liverpool Street Gallery also exhibits the work of Rick Amor, Gunter Christmann, John Kelly (UK) and Kevin Lincoln, as well as solo exhibitions of the international artists Tony Bevan (UK), Jennifer Lee (UK), The Estate of Jon Schueler (USA) and Enrique Martínez Celaya (USA).

Whilst predominantly exhibiting innovative abstract, realist and figurative painting, Liverpool Street Gallery also exhibits sculpture, limited edition prints and a variety of works on paper. The exciting combination of different media and diverse artists aims to encourage both collectors and admirers of contemporary art

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