Part 1: Important Fine Art
27 November 2013


born 1958

oil on linen

122.0 x 142.5 cm

signed, dated and inscribed verso on stretcher: “UNTITLED IN GREEN AND GOLD” Stephen Bush 13/11/87 – 27/11/87

$20,000 - 25,000

Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne (label attached verso)
The John L. Stewart Collection, New York


Claiming: An Installation of Paintings by Stephen Bush, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, September 1991 – January 1992

Catalogue text

'It's a bicentennial picture, a bit like a joke. It's a theatre diorama with curtains on both sides. A fake architectural setting with a view opening out on to a Western District landscape. In the diorama there are three kangaroos standing, one of which is a fighting kangaroo. It looks a bit like something you might find on a bank note as a crest. It's playing with the idea of 'Australiana'. It depicts something which is supposedly 'uniquely' Australian "but they're stuffed" standing on a carpet square.'1

Abounding with theatricality, Untitled in Green and Gold is a tongue in cheek satire of the nationalistic themes and romantic agricultural myths that permeated journalism, photography and landscape painting throughout Australia and America during the 19th century. Stilted and overly dramatic, there is a tangible awkwardness to this picture, falling short of grandeur. The stuffed kangaroos are carefully positioned on a stage with gilded curtains, separated from the natural landscape behind them. In an otherwise monochromatic painting, Bush employs two characteristically Australian colours "green and gold" further emphasising the ridiculousness of this patriotic scene.

'The dioramas are something I've been led into by looking at those photographs where historical figures stand in front of representations of reality. I am really playing up the fact "that the pictures aren't 'real'" by emphasising the awkwardness.'2

Born in a small rural town outside Colac, Victoria, Stephen Bush has gone on to achieve significant acclaim throughout Australia and America, dividing his time between these two countries. Bush has exhibited prolifically in major public galleries and art fairs, including VOLTA Art Fair, New York, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, The National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, and the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, USA. He has received numerous awards including the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery 2007, and in 2012 he was the recipient of the Australia Council's New York Green Street Residency. Bush's work is represented in major public collections including Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Australia, and National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, in addition to multiple private collections throughout Australia, Europe and the United States of America.

1. Stephen Bush, cited in Cripps, P., Stephen Bush and Janet Burchill, exhibition catalogue, The Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Emu Plains, New South Wales, p. 8
2. Ibid.