Side Show Parrots, 1981 signed with initials, dated and inscribed 'R.G. 1981 / SIDE SHOW / PARROTS' verso assemblage of weathered, painted and unpainted wood from soft-drink crates, cardboard printed with Arnott's logo, found painted wood numbers and ball, glued, nailed and screwed 63.5 x 48.2 x 10.1cm (25 x 19 x 4in).
PROVENANCE: John Buckley, Melbourne, from 1981 Purchased from John Buckley, Melbourne, December 1987
EXHIBITED: Pinacotheca, Melbourne, 29 April 1981, cat. no. 18 Australia - Works by Peter Booth and Rosalie Gascoigne, arti visive '82 - Catlogo Generale, la Biennale di Venezia' 1982, cat. no. 4 (label attached verso) Works by Peter Booth and Rosalie Gascoigne, Australia: Venice Biennale, 1982, Rosalie Gascoigne cat. no. 4 Abstraction 9, Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne, 4-20 November 2010, cat. no. 37
LITERATURE: Australia - Works by Peter Booth and Rosalie Gascoigne, exh. cat., arti visive '82 - Catlogo Generale, la Biennale di Venezia' 1982, cat. no. 4, p. 69 (illus.) Works by Peter Booth and Rosalie Gascoigne, exh. cat., Australia: Venice Biennale, 1982, Rosalie Gascoigne cat. no. 4, p. 61 (illus.) Kelly Gellatly et al., Rosalie Gascoigne, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2008, p.43 (illus.) (not exhibited) Abstraction 9, exh. cat., Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne, 2010, cat. no. 37 Martin Gascoigne, catalogue Raissone (in prep)
The idea of the untidy parrot tails was a side vision as Rosalie Gascoigne worked and walked and wondered along the untidy array of many-coloured scraps from dismantled soft drink crates in the courtyard of her Canberra home. In 1980-81 the studio was not yet built and she was thinking and working, head down, in the open air within sound and sight of Canberra's bright parrots. No matter that there was a history to this recent creative storm, that parrots and birds in ﬂight had been in her art for years before 1980, those stifﬂy ﬂirting tails of torn wood, having colonised her eye, clamoured for attention. And the struggle now recommenced. She made Parrots 1980, and produced others, but in early 1981, as she explained to Ian North, 'I still wasn't through with my feeling... for parrot tails.' At that point she took a stern stance, adopting an attitude she associated with Picasso of 'not giving a damn', and put together this work Side show parrots 1981 with a 'very positive hand.' The not giving a damn state of mind involved a non-correcting mind and was committed to making mistakes. Accordingly, she 'accepted' that one parrot was 'going the wrong way' (interrupting the rhythm) and that the heads of the parrots were grey and meek above their strident tails (strange dissonance!). Taking advantage of those accidents she, like Picasso, wrought to 'made it work, however unlikely' the means.
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