Everglades Gallery, 37 Everglades Avenue, Leura – 2 – 23 September 2017
Contact: Carolyn Leigh
- 0419 994 287
Portraits Real and Imagined is a survey of selected portraits by Jurgis Miksevicius (1923 – 2014) of people who sat for him, those he remembered and those he imagined,
‘His subjects, real and imagined, are transformed into symbols of something much deeper and unseen. People are not rendered as realistic images but as expressive representations of personality and emotions.’ Roger Butler AM.
Jurgis Miksevicius (1923-2014) was a Lithuanian émigré to Australia, arriving as a displaced person in 1948. He fled with his parents to Germany to escape the Soviet invasion and at the end of the war studied Architecture and Fine Arts in Darmstadt, Germany. His artistic roots were in European art and Bauhaus principles which formed the foundation of his practice as an artist in Australia and a career spanning across seven decades. This exhibition presents one aspect of his diverse artistic legacy and celebrates his unique contribution to Australian cultural life.
Miksevicius lived and painted in Sydney from 1953 – 2004 and the Central Coast from 2004 – 2014. He was an art teacher and Head teacher in the New South Wales Education Department from 1960 – 1983.
Roger Butler AM, Senior Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, in his introduction to the recently published book by the curator of this exhibition, Carolyn Leigh, Jurgis Miksevicius – Portraits Real and Imagined, observes:
‘Despite years of sustained involvement within the Australian art scene, Miksevicius chose to withdraw from this sphere in the early 1960s. An unfortunate corollary of this has been that Miksevicius has never received the recognition his worth deserves. While the impact of Lithuanian artists upon the Australian creative culture has been duly acknowledged, Miksevicius has been unjustly absent from this story. The decision to separate from the public art world, a space he viewed as controlled by competition and egotism, was hardly the end for Miksevicius. Rather it marked the beginning of a truly introspective and highly personal art production, the cornerstone of which was portraiture.
Every portrait involves the explicit and implicit construction of identity. Usually many parties are involved – the subject, the patron, the innumerable viewers, the artist least of all. Removed from external influences, Miksevicius was able to create art without the need to compromise or placate; a unique vantage point that few artists ever attain. Miksevicius’ portraits are unilateral expressions of self.
Too often it is only after an artist’s death that we are able to take stock and correctly acknowledge their place within broader art histories. Regardless of the delay, these revisions are incredibly important and illumination of Jurgis Miksevicius’ quiet but insatiable art practice is no exception.’
Miksevicius’ work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, the Lithuanian Art Museum, Vilnius, the National M.K. Ciurlionis Art Museum, Kaunas, Lithuania and national and international private collections.
The exhibition will be opened by:
A/g Senior Curator, Australian Prints, Drawings and Illustrated Books, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
Elspeth is a PhD Candidate in the Centre for Art History and Theory at the Australian National University. She has previously held curatorial and research positions at the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum, London.
Saturday 2 September, 2 – 4 pm (by invitation)
National Trust Everglades Gardens Gallery
Everglades Historic House and Garden
37 Everglades Ave, Leura, NSW 2780
Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 4 pm
Public Program – Sunday 10 September 10 am – 12 noon
Floor talk by Carolyn Leigh, curator of this exhibition, daughter of the artist and author of Jurgis Miksevicius – Portraits Real and Imagined. Blurb, 2016,
Cost: $10.00 including, free entry to Everglades and morning tea in
Everglades Tea Rooms.
Bookings by: Friday 8 September.
Phone: 47 84 1938