In War Then And Now Denise Green is showing for the first time a new body of work combining photography with painting. The photographs used by Green were taken by her father during the North African campaign in the Second World War. He served as a driver in the medical corps, picking up the wounded and dead. Upon his return to Australia he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, colouring the atmosphere of Green's family life and childhood.
The exhibition deals with war, memory and trauma. It uses images of a devastated urban setting in North Africa, which resonate visually with present conflicts in the Middle East. In both her paintings and collages, Green breaks up photographs with vertical bands of either raw canvas or pieces of drawing. These incisions into the image suggest psychological fragmentation. They give an impression of repetitive movement from outer to inner—from the external events depicted in the photographs, to the internal abstractions of the mind.
Born in Melbourne, Denise Green moved to New York City in 1969 after studying at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris. Further studies under Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell grounded her approach to painting in the modernist tradition. In 1978, she was curated into two groundbreaking exhibitions, Young American Artists (Solomon R Guggenheim Museum) and New Image Painting (Whitney Museum of American Art), which launched her career in America. Green has been the subject of nine museum retrospectives in the past twenty years, including shows at MoMA PS1 in New York (1999), the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2001) and the Museum Kurhaus Kleve in Germany (2006).
Green's work is represented in over seventy major public and private collections, including the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Albertina, Vienna; the Museumof Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the UQ Art Museum, Brisbane; the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne; and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
In 2007 Green was awarded the Order of Australia, one of the nation's highest honours.
Press release courtesy Gallery 9.