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Paintings and Studies 1967 – 1977

Exhibition Gallery

Department of Visual Arts

Monash University

October 12, November 4, 1977

Lesley Dumbrell has been the Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Visual Arts for most of 1977.

The Artist-in-Residence program has two purposes.  It is to give an artist of distinction and promise an opportunity to work full time at their art in a new and, hopefully, stimulating and sympathetic environment.  Most Australian artists work in comparative isolation in their own studios, having contact with their audience only briefly if and when they hold an exhibition.  By working in, and being part of, a university department, the artist is given the opportunity in an informal way to communicate to her or his audience more directly through word and deed.

If the prime consideration of the Artist-in-Resident program is to enable an artist to get on with their work free of any teaching obligations, the second purpose is to give students interested in the visual arts an opportunity to get to know an artist and their work, to understand something of how a practitioner conceives of and thinks about their work.  It is an important reminder that art doesn’t simply exist in the past, in museums and in books but is a continuing activity and one which is not totally removed from normal experience.

The day is surely past when students should go through a university with an interest in the visual arts and never have the opportunity to meet and talk with an artist, gaining from their insight and experience usually so different from that of critics or historians.

Monash has been most fortunate in securing Lesley Dumbrell as its third Artist-in-Rsidence.  She has become one of the leading younger abstract painters of Melbourne over the last few years and this exhibition portrays the emergence of her present individual style.  She has also been one of the leading and most articular spokeswoman for women artists whose immense contribution to Australian art has only lately begs to be fully acknowledged.

During her time at Monash Lesley Dumbrell has produced a remarkable amount of work and has been an invaluable presence in the  Department.  She has embodied splendidly the twin purpose of the program.

We would like to thank for Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council and the Potter Foundation whose generous grants made this possible.

Patrick McCaughey


Department of Visual Arts.