This page lists current exhibitions and other events that may be of interest.

Exhibition: Lightworks at ANU Drill Hall Gallery

2 October – 29 November 2020

Charles Nodrum has been invited to curate an exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery including the work of Lesley Dumbrell, Trevor Vickers, Richard Dunn and Virginia Coventry.

Cerulean, 2010, 122x122cm, oil on linen

ANU Drill Hall Gallery
Kingsley Street, Acton, ACT 2601
Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm 
Tel: 61255832   E:   Web:

When two colours or two tones are juxtaposed, they evoke a quality of light common to them both. This realisation is fundamental to all paintings which aim to produce illusions of light, space and atmosphere, including those which have been conceived by specialists in abstraction and colour –prime examples being the paintings of Lesley Dumbrell, Trevor Vickers, Virginia Coventry and Richard Dunn.

This exhibition, curated by Charles Nodrum, brings together artists of the same generation, with a closely corresponding sensibility. During their coming of age in the 1960s, the influence of post-war American painters was keenly felt. The concept of a painting as a unitary field, the importance of scale, and the primacy of colour were defining features of that era.For these painters, as Matisse once put it, “Colour helps to express light – not the physical phenomenon, but the only light that really exists, that of the artist’s brain.

Terence Maloon, Director, Drill Hall Gallery

By Charles Nodrum:

When Terence Maloon asked me to curate an exhibition of three artists work, he gave me as a guideline the theme of light.  Through discussions, this trio extended into a quartet.  The degree to which light is indeed the unifying theme is a moot point: we usually associate light with bright, so to justify the inclusion of those works where it is absent, I can only repeat Soulages’s riposte to those who complained his paintings had no colour: “Black is a colour”.  What is certainly a unifying theme of these artists is their long-standing commitment to geometric abstraction.
All four of the artists have careers stretching back fifty years.

Lesley Dumbrell’s work has kept to a fairly narrow path with optical works predominant, though in the 80s and 90s blockier forms tended to interlock rather than overlay. 

Trevor Vickers’s path has been slightly different. The format he devised in the early 60s – the bordered rectangle with a dividing line down the centre – has been his mainstay ever since but with two exceptions: occasional forays into the rectilinear shaped works of the 60s and, relatedly, into the curvilinear Catalan paintings. 

Like a number of artists around 1970, Virginia Coventry stopped painting altogether and took up photography, specialising in suites of photographs documenting (for example) the small shifts that individual owners bring to a row of identical houses. 

Richard Dunn’s career shows even wider explorations: for a senior academic, a broad interest and knowledge of the art scene as a whole is a virtual necessity.  A brief look at his career shows a wide variety of themes over the decades and this exhibition shows a small selection from one only.

Thought was given to including younger artists who also focus on light (and its perception) but I decided to fix on the present four, partly because they are contemporaries both of each other and of myself; so to accusations of ageism, I can only plead guilty.

The history of Australian art is dotted with artists whose early work remains highly prized and whose later work is seen to have not sustained expectations – Streeton being an obvious case.  Some quick arithmetic will show that these four artists have reached an age which society considers suitable for retirement.  Clearly, all four have no time for such conventions.  They all remain totally absorbed and dedicated to their practice, endlessly questioning, probing, testing – and showing no signs of resting on their laurels. 

My thanks go to the artists, Terence Maloon, Anthony Oates, Felicity Johnston of Art Collective WA, Jenny Port, Anne and Graham Simmons, and Nati and Kate Nodrum.

Charles Nodrum, Curator

The Tram is back

Melbourne’s painted trams have returned to the tracks for the Melbourne International Arts Festival. I am delighted to announce that my 1986 tram has been recreated in 2019. Watch this video for a peek at how it happened.

ABC interview: Artists behind Melbourne’s trams

Melbourne trams are no longer just yellow and green. Artists have painted murals on trams as part of the Melbourne International Art Festival.

Lesley Dumbrell was one of the first people to put a paintbrush to the side of a tram in 1986.

She joins artist Nyein Aung to discuss painting murals in bland places like the side of a tram and hospital ceilings.

Click here for the interview (you will be taken to the abc website)

Duration: 7min 33sec

Broadcast: Mon 14 Oct 2019, 2:00pm

image: courtesy of Melbourne International Arts Festival 2019

Exhibition: Art Gallery NSW “Light and colour, moving”

This display draws on the key examples of art from the National Gallery collection from 1916 to the present. It considers the early work of the Sydney painter, Grace Cossington Smith, whose self-portrait erodes the solid image in favour of fragmented blues and pinks. The display includes the ‘pure’ abstract paintings of Grace Crowley, in which planes of colour overlap and intersect, and the ‘metaphorical’ abstraction of Lesley Dumbrell, that distils earthly phenomena as rhythmic patterns of light and linear form.

Foehn, 1976 and Ripple, 1973 both part of this wonderful exhibition on abstraction
Foehn, 1976
Read More

Exhibition at QAGOMA 25 May 2019 – 2 Feb 2020


Geometries’ brings together works that dazzle the eyes with colour and form. Using deceptively simple strategies — structuring relationships between the most elementary components of shape, scale and relative sequencing, for the most part described in pure, flat and vibrant colours — the artists behind these arrangements excel in creating mesmerising optical effects. Contemporary in their lively spirit, and sometimes surprisingly classical in their sense of order and proportion, these works are certain to stir the senses.

Lesley Dumbrell, Australia b.1941 / Stridor 1972 / Synthetic polymer paint on canvas / 167.7 x 246.7cm / Gift of the Queensland Art Gallery Society 1974 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Lesley Dumbrell

Lesley Dumbrell, a recognised pioneer of the Australian women’s art movement of the 1970s and a leading exponent of abstraction in Australia, also refers to sound in her work Stridor 1972: ‘stridor’ meaning a harsh, grating noise or the wheezing of an obstructed windpipe. Here, Dumbrell works with a muted palette — unusual given the predilection for bright tones and high contrast employed by many Op painters — and this creates a strange shifting (perhaps rattling) push-pull effect with her subtly angled crossing verticals, which seem to perpetually cross from the foreground to the background. Although Dumbrell is better known for her jazzy system paintings of the late 1970s, as well as the more playful linear and shape paintings of the 1980s that share an aesthetic with the ubiquitous Memphis design group, Stridor is an accomplished early work.


Art Gallery of NSW acquires Solstice

I am delighted that the Art Gallery of NSW has recently acquired a painting from my Melbourne gallery, Charles Nodrum Gallery. It is currently hung alongside several other Lesley Dumbrell paintings which are already held in the AGNSW collection. The exhibition is called “Light and Colour, Moving”. (See my next news post regarding that exhibition.)

Exhibition at Gallery H Bangkok Jul – Oct 2017

The exhibition at Gallery H, Bankok runs until October.  I have visited it each time and whenever I go I am still excited to see the sculptural piece and how it constantly changes within the space.  The sculpture is suspended from the ceiling which allows it to move, and the subtle shifts in light and the slow movement of air both contribute towards a shadow which plays on the floor and against the wall.  I have enjoyed the interaction of the paintings and the sculpture.























































































































Exhibition June 2017

At last, the exhibition has opened!  A great opening night with loads of people.  Many expats as well as some serious Bangkok collectors. Everyone seems happy.  The exhibition runs until August 27th so if you find yourself in Bangkok, please drop in. H Gallery, Bangkok, 201 Sathorn Soi, 12, Bangkok, 10500.  Open daily except Tuesdays. 10 am to 6 pm, or by appointment.























































































































































































































ABSTRACTION – Celebrating Australian women abstract artists

Abstraction.  Touring exhibition by the National Gallery of Australia

This visually exhilarating exhibition reveals the astounding contribution Australian women artists have made to abstract art. The exhibition shows a breathtaking passion for colour, shape and rhythm and a dedication to experimentation and conceptual innovation. The works in this exhibition use a remarkable range of media moving through painting, sculpture and applied arts and take audiences on a journey from the early 20th century through to the present day.  

Click here for touring venues and dates.     

Lesley Dumbrell_'Foehn' 1975_Photographer Reg Ryan



image: Lesley Dumbrell, Foehn, 1975, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1976, © Lesley Dumbrell

After 65 – The legacy of Op 25 April – 26 July 2015

At Latrobe Regional Gallery Victoria.


In 1965 the Museum of Modern art in new york city staged the highly influential exhibition The responsive eye. The exhibition focused on the dazzling and often mesmerising optical effect of colour and geometric line. To acknowledge the 50th anniversary of this important exhibition, AFTER 65 includes works by a range of australian artists who continue the legacy of op.

image credit: Lesley Dumbrell, Deep Red, 2001, acrylic on canvas, 99 x 198cm.