With lively energy and exhilarating anticipation, the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) proudly introduces “Re/Collections”

– an intriguing new series of exhibitions that bring the wonders of the WA State Art Collection to life in truly breath-taking ways. As Western Australia’s crown jewel of visual treasures, our esteemed Collection seeks to stir your curiosity and ignite your creativity as you delve into diverse worlds yet to be explored or remembered.

“Re/Collections” serves as a unique extension of our mission, creating an intricate tapestry of cultures, ideas, timeframes, and states. Our expert curators have spun together a remarkable journey encompassing local scenes and far-flung glimpses, portraying an artistic mosaic that dares to break away from traditional linear displays. It’s time to look, reflect—and look again!

Evidence of AGWA’s dedication to innovative engagement, “Re/Collections” offers fresh perspectives on our beloved collection. After all, the world around us never pauses—with continual shifts and changes, so too should our appreciation of art.

Our Director, Colin Walker, shares, “AGWA’s WA State Art Collection is not simply the most vital public art collection in WA, but is one of our community’s most cherished treasures. We continually feel the love of our dedicated audience, and their desire to see even more of the splendid works we have in our Collection. As the State Art Collection sits at the heart of AGWA, ‘Re/Collections’ is a chance for everyone to explore it in a way that’s entirely unprecedented.”

AGWA has, since 1895, nurtured a collection that now boasts over 18,500 works collectively valued at a staggering $361 million. Today, it encapsulates the richest public art collection in WA and competes as one of the largest in Australia. Among its highlights are a prized assortment of works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists as well as a rich tapestry of Western Australian talents. Twentieth-century Australian and British paintings and sculptures offer another intriguing attraction within our Collection.

The annual growth of the Collection, ranging between 150 to 400 pieces, is made possible largely by the gracious support of AGWA’s Foundation Members and individual philanthropists. And while we can only exhibit a fraction of our treasures at a time, we invite you to explore the WA State Art Collection online—much like other renowned institutions including the Smithsonian, the Vatican Library, and the MET in New York.

Colin Walker adds, “Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, we’ve embarked on an exciting journey to digitise our entire State Art Collection. This monumental process opens up a new realm of accessibility, allowing more pieces to be readily available online. Our objective is to extend the reach of art to everyone—regardless of location—into the palms of regional Western Australians, students, families, researchers, and global visitors.”

Join us in this new chapter of AGWA. Embark on a voyage into artistic realms previously unexplored as we present our Collection through the dynamic lens of “Re/Collections.” This isn’t simply about viewing art—it’s about experiencing it anew, in all its resplendent glory!

Find out more on the AGWA website here

John (Cecil) Brack British Modern 1969. Oil on canvas, 96.5 x 129.5 cm. The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased 1984

The Exhibitions:

Against The Odds (Until 10 September 2023)

Focused on the artwork of Helen Maudsley and her contemporary female artists from the 1950s, Against The Odds celebrates the work of women artists within the State Art Collection. Featuring thirty-two artists and multiple mediums, the exhibition sheds light on a groundbreaking period in the Australian art scene.

Spacingout (Until 17 September 2023)

A compelling display of artwork from the State Art Collection, Spacingout examines the nuanced emotional and perceptual ambivalences of modern life. Highlighting the often overlooked background aspects of life, this display offers a unique exploration into the realm of undefinable feelings and situations.

State of Abstraction (Opens 21 October 2023)

Celebrating abstract art from prolific and fledgling artists of Western Australia, State of Abstraction spans time from the mid-twentieth century to the present. The exhibition delves into the deep relationship between the abstract format and themes of materiality, meaning, perception, place, time, history, and identity.

The Antipodean Manifesto (Until 18 February 2024)

Showcasing works from seven artists who formed the Antipodean group based in Melbourne in 1959, The Antipodean Manifesto draws works from the State Art Collection to provide insight into the group’s aspirations and their corresponding social and political environment in late 1950s Australia.

Balancing Act (Ongoing display)

With a diverse selection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art from the State Art Collection, Balancing Act explores diverse narratives through artwork. The exhibition juxtaposes candid observations of life’s highs and lows with expressions of relationships to Custodial Country, offering a broad perspective into the stories of the First Nations artists.