– Highlights

highlight
Mca Collection

MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday

01 Sep - 31 Dec

highlight
Exhibition

The National 2017

30 Mar - 18 Jun

highlight
Exhibition

Kader Attia

12 Apr - 30 Jul

– Learning Events

highlight
Workshop

Weaving Workshop/ Booked out

03 Jun, 10.30am, Level 2: Seminar Room

highlight
Performance

Tribunal

03 Jun, 6.00pm, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning

highlight
Event

HANDFED

04 Jun, 9.00am, Level 4: Sculpture Terrace

– News from inside the MCA

Handfed: no cutlery required

Why do some cultures prefer to eat with their bare hands while others use knives, forks or chopsticks? more

Farewell Linda Marrinon Artist Room

We bid a fond farewell to Linda Marrinon’s Artist Room more

Zines, zines, zines

'It can be what you want it to be’. Stallholders at the 2017 MCA Zine Fair say it how it is. more

– Spotlights from the collection online

highlight
MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

highlight
Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

highlight
Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

Paddy Bedford

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)

Duration

06 Dec 2006 to 15 Apr 2007

Curator: Russell Storer

about the exhibition

Paddy Bedford’s paintings are a combination of modern materials and traditional pictorial conventions, contemporary experience and ancient belief systems. Born around 1922 on Bedford Downs Station in the remote East Kimberley region of Western Australia, Bedford began painting on canvas and board in 1998 and continued until his passing in 2007. His artistic practice in that time was remarkably prolific and consistently innovative. A senior lawman of the Gija people, Bedford painted as part of ceremony all his life and brought this wealth of symbolic, historical and technical knowledge to bear on his art.

Bedford’s paintings relate the narratives of his mother’s and father’s country, combining the Dreaming stories of the cockatoo, bush turkey and emu with the topography of the land he regularly traversed as a stockman, including rivers, roads, rocks and waterholes. Bedford also created paintings based on accounts of the often brutal interaction between Aboriginal people and white settlers in the early years of the 20th century.

With their large fields of flat colour edged with white dots, Bedford’s works connect to what has been described as the ‘East Kimberley’ or ‘Turkey Creek’ painting movement. This style emerged in the late 1970s and was made famous by artists such as Rover Thomas, Queenie McKenzie and Paddy Jaminji. While his bold compositions of stark, rounded shapes have provided a consistent structure for his paintings, Bedford also experimented with colour, form and pictorial space, with rapid and regular shifts occurring in his work.

This exhibition presented Paddy Bedford’s powerful command of painting, and traced the development of his motifs and techniques over the past decade. It included a series of Bedford’s early, densely patterned panels of red, yellow and black ochres; a selection of his more recent black and white canvases, with their dramatic play between positive and negative space; and a range of his vivid gouache works, their fluid lines and bright colours revealing a spontaneous, playful dimension to the artist’s practice. Together they presented a unique vision, drawing upon the specifics of Bedford’s country and its history as well as connecting to the wider artistic and social concerns at play in contemporary Australia.

Tour Itinerary

  • Art Gallery of Western Australia: 12 May – 22 July 2007
  • Bendigo Art Gallery: 11 August – 16 September 2007
  • University Art Museum, University of Queensland, Brisbane: 16 November 2007 – 1 March 2008
Sponsored by

Sponsored by

Supported by

Supported by

Supported by

Supported by

Supported by

Supported by

In the Shop