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Vera Rudner a study by Katharine Margot…

Vera Rudner a study

by Katharine Margot Toohey

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Vera Rudner is one of Australia's first and finest Surrealists, with paintings in the National Gallery of Australia. Her work spans the 1940s - from deconstructed still life to deconstructed Warfield. As she stopped painting early and her work is rare, it has not yet seen the full recognition its power, vibrancy and craftsmanship deserve. This is the first book completely about her work. Rudner explains that, for her, Surrealism is an internal process, stemming from the 'self', whether it illuminates personal emotions or facets of subjective reality. In light of this, Quemar's study begins with a biographical section - explaining her childhood as a silent film actress in Berlin, her escape from Nazi Germany as an adolescent studying progressive art, her arrival in Australia, and her sharp-focused exploration of Surrealism's possibilities. The next part of this book is an essay on the way the Surrealism in Rudner's work remains distinct from Expressionism, and other concepts of Surrealism. In her paintings, agency - the ability to act and interact - can belong to something usually inanimate or indefinable, and human-like elements can be shapes or spaces of colour resting representationally. This study then suggests some approaches to six of her intact paintings, examining their deconstructed elements and their fluid significance. Here the paintings are shown in colour, for the first time juxtaposing her private collection with her works owned by the National Gallery of Australia. Rudner's paintings navigate labyrinths - warzones, suburbia, abandonment, the emotions of familiar objects or objects unrecognised.… (more)
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