‘Ken Whisson: Painting & Drawing’ Book Launch


Sun 26 May 11:30am - 12:15pm


Free, no booking required


180 Saint Kilda Road, Southbank Melbourne, VIC, Australia


Join author Quentin Sprague in conversation with art critic and art historian Victoria Perin, and interim Director of the ANU Drill Hall Gallery, Tony Oates as they discuss Ken Whisson: Painting & Drawing and, more broadly, the function of biography in relation to art history.

Celebrate the launch of this extensive monograph on one of Australia’s most prolific artists. Richly illustrated with over 300 plates, and drawing on extensive interviews and archival research, Ken Whisson: Painting & Drawing charts a seven-decade course through Whisson’s unwaveringly idiosyncratic practice. It covers his early years in Melbourne, his long residence in the Italian city of Perugia, and his return to Australia in 2014. The picture that emerges is of an artist driven by the vagaries of memory and an enduring belief in creative intuition: a combination that resulted in one of the most original bodies of work in Australian art. Authored by Quentin Sprague and designed by Small Tasks, Ken Whisson: Painting & Drawing is co-published by Drill Hall Gallery Publishing and The Miegunyah Press.

Presented by Drill Hall Gallery Publishing
The Drill Hall Gallery has established a nation-wide reputation for landmark exhibitions: retrospectives, mid-career surveys and thematic exhibitions by leading contemporary artists. The publications relating to these exhibitions proudly promote a finer appreciation of contemporary art in its most diverse forms.

Quentin Sprague Speaker

Quentin Spragueis a writer based on Australia’s south-east coast, on Wadawurrung country. His essays and criticism have appeared in The Monthly, The Australian, Art & Australia, and Discipline, and in artist monographs and exhibition catalogues published by (among others) the National Gallery of Victoria, the Monash University Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. His first book, The Stranger Artist, won the 2021 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for nonfiction.

Victoria Perin Speaker

Victoria Perin is an art critic and art historian living in Naarm/Melbourne. She is a founding member of Memo Review, where her writing appears regularly. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne. Her research examines local art histories, with a focus on postwar art and printmaking.

Anthony Oates Speaker

Anthony Oates is the interim director of the Drill Hall Gallery at The Australian National University, where he is also Exhibitions Curator. He has curated numerous exhibitions at the gallery, which recently include Backwash (co-curated with Oscar Capezio, 2023), SYNERGY: Tony Tuckson – drawing into painting (co-curated with Terence Maloon, 2023), and Un-titled: Elizabeth Newman (2021).

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