From New York to Newcastle - Gallery exhibition celebrates internationally significant artist

02 May 2019

Newcastle Art Gallery’s next exhibition VIRGINIA CUPPAIDGE: the nature of abstraction is a survey exhibition of work celebrating Cuppaidge’s return to Australia.

After more than 40 years living and working in New York, the Australian-born abstract painter has returned to Australia to live and work in Newcastle. Her retrospective exhibitionopening Saturday 11 May, will feature works of art painted in New York.

Cuppaidge’s practice is embedded in the abstract; the works of art selected celebrate her acute understanding of the landscape and mastery of light, balance, colour and form.

Born in Brisbane in 1943, Cuppaidge studied art in Sydney before moving to New York in 1969 where she remained for more than 40 years. Newcastle Art Gallery has collected Cuppaidge’s works of art since the 1980s and this exhibition provides yet another opportunity to develop a project that showcases a prominent artist from the collection.
“Drawn from the Gallery’s holdings are three monumental paintings, Saix 1974, Valoniah 1979 and Center Of The Beginning 1988,” explained Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton.

“It’s fantastic that we have Virginia’s work in the collection. As an expatriate Australian artist living overseas and a young female artist working in 1970s New York, she was living in one of the art capitals of the world when some extraordinary shifts were taking place in the international women’s rights movement.

“In line with the title of the exhibition, Virginia’s works of art also help us explore the very nature of abstract art. She is an important artist with immense skill and considerable international renown.”

About Virginia Cuppaidge (left)

Virginia Cuppaidge studied in Sydney with Desiderius Orban, Stanislaus Rapotec, Marea Gazzard, John Olsen and Robert Klippel before moving to New York in 1969 to ‘see the best abstract art going on at the time and live in the art museums.’
Although Cuppaidge lived in New York for more than 40 years, she came to the realisation that her abstract work is routed in her Australian experience (she believes the Australian landscape is in her system).

Cuppaidge’s exhibiting career has traversed the American, Canadian and Australian art scenes, with 33 solo exhibitions and numerous public commissions and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976.

Virginia has exhibited in USA and Australia. Galleries include: Stella Downer Fine Art – Sydney, Rosenberg + Kaufman Fine Arts – New York, Robin Gibson Gallery – Sydney, Gallery A – Sydney, AM Sachs Gallery – New York, Bloomfield Galleries – Sydney, Susan Caldwell Gallery – New York. In 1973 Cuppaidge held her first first solo show in New York City at AM Sachs NY. Virginia was adjunct associate professor of art at C.U.N.Y, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and Bronx Community College, 1992–2008.

Virginia CUPPAIDGE Valoniah 1979 acrylic on canvas 198.0 x 305.0cm Purchased 1980 Newcastle Art Gallery collection

Since early 2017, Virginia has lived in Newcastle, and is currently writing "The New York Stories". An account of arriving in New York in 1969, meeting up with Australian sculptor Clement Meadmore, adapting to the huge metropolis, working at the Max Hutchinson Gallery in SoHo, and surviving as an artist in New York City for five decades.

VIRGINIA CUPPAIDGE: the nature of abstraction (11 May - 21 July 2019) Newcastle Art Gallery. Entry is free.

Explore Newcastle Art Gallery’s future exhibition program