Legend, 1988 signed, dated and inscribed '"Legend" 1988 / Rosalie Gascoigne' verso assemblage of sawn, pre-painted, pre-lettered masonite glued to plywood 118 x 75cm (46 7/16 x 29 1/2in).
PROVENANCE: Purchased from 312 Lennox Street Gallery, Melbourne, August 1991
EXHIBITED: Sense of Place - Colin McCahon and Rosalie Gascoigne, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney and Ian Potter Gallery, Melbourne, 30 June - 28 July 1990 Laverty 2, Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Newcastle, 14 May - 14 August 2011 The Colin and Elizabeth Laverty collection - a selection of Indigenous and non-Indigenous art works, Geelong Gallery, Geelong, 18 February - 15 April 2012
LITERATURE: Sense of Place - Colin McCahon and Rosalie Gascoigne, exh. cat., Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney, 1990, p.32 (illus.) Australian Art Education (Sydney), vol.14, no.2, August 1990 (illus.) 'Exhibition Commentary', Art and Australia, Summer 1990, vol. 28, no. 2, pg. 248 (illus.) Artemis (Newcastle Region Art Gallery Society magazine) vol.42, no.1, 2011, p.11 The Colin and Elizabeth Laverty collection - a selection of Indigenous and non-Indigenous art exhibition, exh. cat., Geelong Gallery, Geelong, 2012 (illus.) Martin Gascoigne, catalogue raisonné (in prep.)
Poetry and materiality are indivisible in Rosalie Gascoigne's art. For Legend 1988 she used a sign hand-lettered in blue on cream-painted masonitea colour combination as legendary as blue and white china. Its message originally read in part HOLDEN [for sale]... APPLY WITHIN. The artist sawed the message into pieces and reassembled selected rectangles into a composition in which text is paramount yet paradoxically shorn of words and the meanings they convey. By 1988 Gascoigne had already made a number of text works from yellow (and red) stencil-printed road signs and was to produce many more using that generic material, whereas in her total oeuvre there are only four works from one-off, hand-painted signs: two from 1988 and two later. The other 1988 work was from an air-brushed sign and she named it The Painted Word in cryptic reference to the written word / the spoken word. Likewise, the title Legend teases the expectation we have that letters form words, and words a story; it also responds to the hieratic appearance of a tall format, an emphasis on verticals in the gridded composition, a concentration of pointed (Gothic) letters in the text, and the sonority of the colour blue. Mildly achieved, the effect of his legend-in-letters-without-words is mind shifting. Other practitioners have adopted Gascoigne's materials and method, without, however, displaying a like imagination. Gascoigne's response to life was both natural to her and trained by a strict discipline of looking. The art she produced was grounded in the physical world, speciﬁ c in its material, and redolent of sense-associations held in memory.
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