Wendy Sharpe is acclaimed as one of Australia’s most significant and awarded artists. She has won the Archibald Prize, the Portia Geach Memorial Prize (twice) and the Sulman prize (judged by Albert Tucker). She has received major commissions including Australian Official Artist to East Timor, the first woman painter since World War II.
Her work explores creativity, imagination and the mysterious process of transforming ideas into the tangible.
…”Imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown..
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and A name.’.
(“ A Midsummer Nights Dream” )
Wendy Sharpe’s paintings depict an emotionally charged topsy turvy world that is evocative rather than prescriptive. We are beckoned to create our own narratives. There are endless possibilities, no one answer, no right or wrong.
In one work, an artist walks to her studio, buildings grow legs and march past her while faces hover in the air. In another, an artist struggles with figments of her own iconography, or is spooked by her shadow presence on a blank canvas.
“ Art is a monster- you don’t know where it comes from or indeed what it is exactly, but as an artist, you have the responsibility of entering the labyrinth and bringing back it’s head. “
(Anne Seymour “The Draught of Dr Jekyll, An Essay on the work of Sandro Chia”)
“Ideas don’t come like a flash of inspiration, they come out of other work, and one thing leads to another. Break throughs are a reward for immersing yourself in painting and thinking of little else. However, I still surprise myself, when I look at some of my completed paintings, although I can trace their origins and development, they take on a life of their own.
Some of these paintings are self-portraits and others what I call ‘semi self-portraits’, I identify with the main character, who is both female and an artist. I am not interested in likeness but more about situation and psychological state” - Wendy Sharpe 2007
Wendy is known for her strong figurative paintings, her use of narrative and the sensuous use of paint. She is the quintessential romantic painter, uncompromising, dedicated, and unconcerned by fad and fashion. Her work addresses universal human issues such as relationships and the human condition.
Extract from 2002 exhibition catalogue, Philip Bacon Galleries