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New exhibition shows Brett Whiteley's earliest work

The purpose of drawing is to make freshness permanent.

(Brett Whiteley, 1985)

Brett Whiteley Studio
on until 25 September 2005

Brett Whiteley, Two miles to get the letters

An exhibition of the earliest works of Brett Whiteley during the period 1955-65 shows his pivotal shift from abstraction to figuration and the establishment of his international reputation. The exhibition called Sydney Genesis and Beyond 1955-65 has over 60 drawings, paintings and sculptures which span Sydney, Italy, France and London. Many have rarely been seen before.

In 1958 Whiteley was nineteen years old and fascinated by artists such as Russell Drysdale, Donald Friend, William Scott and Graham Sutherland whose works he had seen hanging at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. These works are on display in this exhibition at the Brett Whiteley Studio for the first time to allow speculation on how during the first ten years of Whiteley's artistic journey the young man might have interpreted the visions and methods of his older peers in the shaping of his own visual language.

In 1959 Whiteley submitted a number of paintings including Sofala and July Painting for the Italian Government Travelling Art Scholarship. The prize was judged by Russell Drysdale and was awarded to Whiteley.

Winning the scholarship put Brett in the right place at the right time. After six months in Italy, he arrived in London with a folio of studies and drawings to approach the art galleries. He could hardly believe his good luck when at the end of his first day he had an offer of a one man show at the Molton Gallery and a mixed show at McRoberts and Tunnard says Beryl Whiteley.

This exhibition traces the arc of this early decade of Whiteley's experimentations and explorations with drawings, paintings and making objects. These early struggles are also some of the most interesting and beautiful work in his long and prestigious career.

This exhibition is part of the Paper Trail which celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Sydney Art on Paper Fair and is also in association with the Sydney Drawing Festival.

On view:Until 25 September 2005
Brett Whiteley Studio
2 Raper St Surry Hills 2010
Telephone:(02) 9225 1881
Hours:Saturdays and Sundays only 10 - 4pm
Admission:$7 adults / $5 students- concessions
Media Information and Interviews:Susanne Briggs
Press Office, Art Gallery of NSW
Telephone (02) 9225 1791

IMAGE CREDIT: Brett Whiteley, Australia b.1939, d.1992
Two miles to get the letters, 1962-1965. Charcoal, tempera, oil and linseed oil, collage, on plywood.
Collection Brett Whiteley Studio � Whiteley Estate