Alison McMaugh (Australia/United States, 1928-2005)
acrylic on canvas
UTS Art Collection, transfer from KCAE, 1990
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Alison McMaugh was an Australian-born artist and educator who studied painting under Ralph Balson at the National Art School in Sydney and was part of the bohemian scene in Kings Cross in the 1950s. McMaugh left Australia in 1957 to pursue her interests in colour theory and the modernism being practised in Europe and the United States. While at the Chelsea School of Art, she met and married fellow student James Adley, then settled in Michigan USA, where both pursued careers as abstract painters. McMaugh was a prominent member of the American feminist art movement and taught at several institutions in Australia and the USA. Her continued links with Australia included an extended visit at the time of the 1982 Sydney Biennale that culminated in an exhibition of her work at the Garry Anderson’s new gallery in Kings Cross the following year.
The speckled white background and soft edges of bright blocks of colour in Beacon 2 are typical of McMaugh’s paintings at that time, reflecting her deep interest in the effects and theories of colour, with an exuberance that links her works to artists such as Paul Klee and Henri Matisse.