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Bea Maddock Square II

Bea Maddock: Square II

Bea Maddock self portrait, National portrait Gallery

The Artist

Bea Maddock was born in Hobart on 13th September 1934 and initially studied at the Hobart Technical College in the early 1950s. Maddock went onto travel and studied further at the famous art institute, Slade School from 1959 to 1961. Bea returned to Tasmania and taught at the Launceston Teachers College and  the Launceston Technical College. Bea also worked as a teacher and lecturer further afield at the National Gallery of Victoria School, the Victorian College of the Art and the Bendigo College of Advanced Education. Following the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983, where tragically, her studio was razed to the ground, Bea returned to Tasmania and worked as a the head of school for art at the College of Advanced Education in Launceston.

From 1964 to 2006, Bea held more than forty solo exhibitions of her works. One particular exhibition was focussed on her experience of her visit to Antartctica in 1987. Metaphysical inquiry, dread and loneliness were often evoked in her introspective self-portraits;The subsequent exhibition, Being and Nothingness,  toured Australian galleries between 1992 and 1993. Bea Maddock passed away on the 9th April, 2016

Bea is best known as a print-maker from the 1970s. Her work was pioneering using photo-etching which had a major impact on Australia. Maddock began incorporating images such as anonymous press images and photographs by herself and others into her prints. These images were manipulated on the plate or even the negative and often were of recognisable subjects such as Seven in the Art Gallery of New South Wales which depicts Anne Frank whose diary of her experiences during the Nazi occupation of Holland was published around this time. Maddock used conventional printmaking techniques in her compositions in conjunction with the photographic images often incorporating grids and conceiving works within series but did not provide explanations of her subjects but leaving that to the viewer to interpret.

Seven by Bea Madock, Art Gallery of NSW

The Work of Art

Square II is typical of Bea's prints in that it incorporates a series of anonymous images in a series. The theme is very much one of urban landscapes with a sense of oppressiveness of being observed from closed circuit television cameras. The activity in the main picture suggests some agitation, a protest or other public disorder. The work was created in 1973 at a time when revolutionary idealisms were becoming much the thing around the world. The print was one of only ten printed and published and is the ninth print. Another of this run is known in the National Gallery of Victoria.

Square II by Bea Maddock

Although this is the only work of art in the University of Canberra's Art Collection by Bea Maddock, the theme of urban settings is a common one in the Art Collection. The work can be favourably compared to the works by Robert and Alexander Boynes and their portrayal of urban landscapes and their uses of images in their art.


Bea Maddock, Self Portrait, National Portrait Gallery:

Bea Maddock Seven,

Alan & Susan Tulloch, The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen and Unwin, Sydney 1994. p461