Vick Varvaressos: Sepik man with Gardenia
According to the CBUS Collection website, Vicki Varvaressos studied in Sydney at the National Art School (1968–71). Her paintings from this time and through the 1970s focused on the media representation of women and reflected contemporary feminist concerns. Her work later became less political and more concerned with personal experience.
Expressive and intuitive in approach, Varvaressos’s style is characterised by broad, unlaboured strokes of thickly applied paint. Her works were primarily figurative until the 1990s when her gestural style loosened into total abstraction. Her subsequent work continues to explore both stylistic modes.
An adept portraitist, Varvaressos won the Portia Geach Memorial Award in 2002 for her work Self portrait with painting. She has been represented in numerous group and survey exhibitions: Australian Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales (1981 and 1985); Romanticism and Classicism in Contemporary Australian Painting, Geelong Art Gallery and touring (1983); Pleasure of the Gaze, Art Gallery of Western Australia (1985); Review: Works by Women in the Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales (1995); and Contemporary Australian Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra (2003) among many others.
The Work of Art
Sepik Man is a very colourful linocut print created in 1987 and published as part of 'The Land' Portfolio to mark the bicentennial of European arrival in Australia in 1788. Sepik man is a good example of Varvaressos' contemporary figurative and expressionist work Her style transitions to print-form with ease. It shows the figure of a man with a gardenia flower. The figure is endowed with expectancy as if waiting for a date to arrive. Like many of her works, there is either a strong sense of emotion, movement or energy with her pictures. Although this is the only example of her work in the University of Canberra's Art Collection, many of her works can be found in other galleries and leading institutions in Australia.