Hector Gililand Elms by a Fence, Summer ACT
Hector Gililand is perhaps one of the most significant artists in the University of Canberra Art Collection. Although Hector was born in Launceston, Tasmania in 1911, he contributed to the art and culture of Canberra in its formative years. He studied at the East Sydney Technical College between 1946 and 1948 and traveled and studied in Europe between 1953 and 1954. He helped to establish the art classes at the Canberra Technical School where he was a part-time teach from 1948 to 1952. From 1952 to 1953, he was President of the Canberra Art Society and at the end of that time, he resigned to travel overseas . The big geometric shapes in his semi-abstract paintings, while retaining all the translucence and delicacy of the medium, help greatly to align the development of the contemporary water-colour in Australia with that of more robust mediums. Gilliland also played an active part in teaching at the various summer schools and taught graphic communication at the School of Architecture at the University of NSW. Between 1937 to 1991 Gillliand participated in numerous group exhibitions and received at least fifty prizes for art. His works of art are represented in many of the major art institutions and education establishments in Australia.
The Work of Art
Elms by a fence, Summer ACT was painted in 1944 (and is therefore one of the earliest images in the Art Collection). It is a bright, colourful work that clearly shows Gilliland's early influences including post-modernism and expressionism. Gilliland uses to great effect colour to contrast the shadows created by the trees and fence onto the sunlit field behind. This work was created before Gilliland had studied overseas and reflects the talent this artist had before European influences crept in to his reportoire.