Collector Rob Phillips and Swan Hill Gallery director, Helen Kaptein with part of the Raw and Compelling exhibition.
Collector Rob Phillips and Swan Hill Gallery director, Helen Kaptein with part of the Raw and Compelling exhibition.

Rare look at art in the raw



SHEARERS, rabbiters, miners, blacksmiths and carnival performer are among the painters whose work enriches Raw and Compelling, Coffs Harbour City Gallery's newest exhibition.

Opened yesterday by Helen Kaptein, the director of the Swan Hill Regional Gallery and curator of the exhibition, Raw and Compelling presents the work of 20 Australian naive artists.

It is the first national travelling exhibition of Australian naive art and Coffs Harbour is the first stop on its nine-city touring schedule.

Many of the artists whose work is included lived hard and remote existences and many did not begin painting until late in life.

The Coffs Harbour show has been extended by 20 extra works lent to the Gallery by Coffs Harbour art collectors Steve Bush and Rob Phillips.

The exhibition shows work by painters with no formal training, but whose work is always heartfelt and often compelling.

Helen Kaptein said although the term naive had traditionally had some pejorative associations as unsophisticated and childlike, Australian artists with a trained eye had always admired its honesty and charm and she would like to see naive art repositioned in the Australian art landscape.



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