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Joy Hester and Friends
1 September – 28 October 2001
All Joy Hester works are reproduced with permission of VISCOPY Ltd, Sydney 2001
This exhibition seeks to bring Joy Hester's remarkable contribution to Australian Art to the fore. Hester's art will be shown in relation to works by other artists who were in close contact with her in the 1940s and 1950s including Albert Tucker, Danila Vassilieff, Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Gray Smith, Mirka Mora and Charles Blackman. The show will also include photographs and other documentary material to reveal her friendships with John and Sunday Reed, Barbara Blackman, Barrett Reid and others.     In this way the exhibition will place Joy Hester's work in the context of the times in which she was working, to reveal the inter-connections as well as the idiosyncrasies of her extraordinary artistic output.
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Bushfire, Avonsleigh
Artist: HESTER, Joy
Title: Bushfire, Avonsleigh (Bushfire (Avonsleigh, Victoria))
Date Made: 1955
Media Category: Watercolour
Medium: brush and ink, watercolour, enamel
Dimensions: 56.1 cm x 77.0 cm (sheet)
Accn No: 76.641
Article: Barbara Blackman recalls that in the late summer of 1955 there was a bushfire quite close to where they were living. ‘The line of fire exploded the pine trees one by one. We rushed for cleared ground. Joy pulled out sheets of paper and painted furiously.’ This is one of Hester’s most painterly works, revealed in her broad brushstrokes and use of colour. The bright orange and yellow strokes against the black ground create a sense of drama. The adult figure leans into the composition, facing the fire – an extended eye, like a warning beacon, amplifying the anxiety, the broad curve of the back adding to the protective gesture. Hester’s remarkable capacity to encompass all she needed to say with a minimum of means is exemplified in the face of the child; the tiny indication of a mouth and alert eyes effectively convey a sense of fear.
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Exhibition Details
Open : 10am to 5pm daily

Tours : 10.15am & 3pm daily
Admission : Tickets available online at
Catalogue : Available via
Events : Joy Hester Public Program Events