My mother met my father (who was born and lived in Melbourne) in Brisbane
at a dance while on leave from the army.
I was born in Warwick (I was nearly named Warwick) in Queensland during
World War 11, where my father was stationed.
My sister, Denise was born in Melbourne, just after the end of the war.
We lived there for eighteen months. My father's job was delivering milk in
a horse drawn cart. We moved back to Brisbane were we moved into a rental
house, and lived there most of our lives. My father was a only child, so
eventually he moved his parents to Brisbane where two extra rooms had
been added to the house.
My mother was one of twelve children, three boys and nine girls.
Eventually my parents had another two girls and one boy.
During our early childhood, Denise and I often fought (like kids are
oft to do). Our life was comfortable and as Denise grew older, she
took a interest in drawing. My father noticed this and encouraged
her to follow her dream. Eventually in 1963 Denise travelled by
ship to London, like a lot of fellow Australians were doing, going
overseas "to see the world". While in London she visited Paris
and decided to enrol at the Ecole Superieure des Beaux-Arts and
the at the Sorbonne. Denise said "In Paris I became very interested
in abstraction" and she remembered that this was the beginning of
her life-long affair with abstract painting.
Part of the area in the loft in New York where Denise plans, formulates,
draws sketches and finally paints then stretches the canvas on frames.
It is here in the same building that she leased some thirty years ago
that most of her works have been created. Denise's works have been
influenced by the Etruscan's civilization (vases), and also by Indian
and Aboriginal art.
In 1968 Denise flew over to New York on a four day visit with a lot of
other students. During her time there she visited a number of museums
and art galleries and decided that the art scene in America was 10 years
ahead of Paris. She recalled "that the energy in the art world there was
incredible and over-whelmed her and that she had to come back". The
following year Denise went back to New York were she decided to continue
her career. Here she enrolled at Hunter College where she obtained a
post-graduate degree. Denise took a lease in downtown Manhattan on a
5th floor loft (where she still creates her work) and began refining her
art that would become her signature style dominated by silhouetted images,
of a chair, a fan or a vessel, and usually in a huge field of colour.
Laight Street, 1975
oil on canvas, 122 x 122cm
One of Denise's earlier paintings. This was a view looking outside of the
loft where Denise worked and created her art. Building structures and
light were central to Denise's work during the 1970's with works of
New York buildings. These paintings were partly influenced by her
architectural studies in Paris.
World Trade Centre Plaza, 1972
Watercolour 76 x 56cm
This was also a view looking outside of Denise's loft in 1972. It was the day
after 9/11 when Denise woke up thinking of the watercolour she had done
in 1972 of the World Trade Centre. This was a close up of the facade.
Villa Etruria, 2002
11 x 36" ink, pencil, watercolor, acrylic on paper
Denise was at her studio on the day of the attack. She heard police sirens
and went to the window and saw a lot of people looking towards the World
Trade Centre and looking up she saw the hole and smoke from the North
Tower. She opened the window and shortly after saw the second plane hit
the building. After several hours Denise knew that she wanted to be working
in front of her canvas. From witnessing this tragic experience Denise created
this and many other similiar paintings.
Comments by Denise Green on how she creates her works:-
“These shapes take the form of vessels, chairs and buildings. They all
belong to me. They allow me to tell a story about my life, my history
and memories of my childhood. With the house and the chair I have a
sense of authority and power. The vessel works for me in the same
way as the fan. It means different things at different times. The shape
has to work abstractly and simultaneously as a symbol with a number
The next stage is actually the second new idea and it is the crucial
step in the process. I decide which medium to use. This for tile is
where all the meaning in the work lies. Sometimes I spread a wash
of colorless medium over the area where the powder has been lifted
off which allows for the natural color of the canvas to be seen in the
final painting, or I assert the presence of the shapes by painting
them with color that echoes that of the dry pigment.”
The Green family children. Mother and father are no longer with us.
Left to right:- Warren (Wazza); Robert (Bob); Denise; Wendy and
During the Seventies, Denise participated in the "New Image Painting"
exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the
"Exxon National Exhibition" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
in New York. In 1975, I decided to travel the world. I visited Hong Kong,
Qatar (a small country east of Saudi Arabia), Rome, Paris, London and
finally New York, where I spent the last four months of 1975 travelling
the length and breath of America and Canada.
Public Collection in the United States
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee
Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Cleveland
MIT, Whitehead Institute, Boston
Department of State, Washington D.C.
Spencer Museum, Kansas University, Lawrence, Kansas
General Mills, Minneapolis
Amerada Hess, New York
American Can Company, Greenwich
British Petroleum, Cleveland
Champion International Corporation, Stamford
Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A.
Chemical Bank, New York
U.S. Bank, Minneapolis
First National Bank, Seattle
GreenPoint Bank, New York
Merrill Lynch, New York
Owens/Corning Fiberglass, Toledo, Ohio
Shearson Lehman Brothers, New York
Sony Corporation, New York
Public Collections in Australia
Australian National Gallery, Canberra
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Melbourne
The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane
The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne
The University of New South Wales, Sydney
Embassy of Australia, Washington D.C.
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
The Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth
Wesfarmers Collection, Perth
Macquarie Bank, Melbourne
Mecenat Collection, Sydney
Parliament House, Canberra
National Bank of Australia, Melbourne
The Westpac Bank, Sydney and New York
One of Denise's works hangs in the Guggenheim Museum
in New York. In a recent interview discussing the institution's
acquisition of a second painting in 1995, Guggenheim's
assistant curator, Tracey Bashkoff noted "we were founded
as a museum of non-objective paintings, and we consider
Green's work important to the history of abstract style in the
20th Century." Choice praise indeed as I have witnessed the
many, many long years of self promotion by Denise to gain
recognition of her work in the art world. This has slowly become
a reality. Denise is now accepted in Australia as a significant artist
with a strong sense of inner-being and a commitment to her
origins. Through all the time she has lived in New York, Denise
has not lost her "real identity" and returns at least every second
year to exhibit her work, lecture at Universitys and visit her family.
Denise’s writings have appeared in Arts Magazine, Art Press (Paris),
Art Monthly Australia, and Art and Australia. She has also had
retrospectives in major museums, from P.S.1 Center for Contemporary
Art/Museum of Modern Art in New York, to the Gallery of New South
Wales in Sydney, to the Ludwig Museum Budapest and the Saarland
Museum in Saarbrucken, Germany.
One of Denise's more recent works titled "A Rose Is A Rose". Some time
after our mother passed away in 2003, Denise and I visited New Farm Park
a place that our mother like to visit, mainly because of the huge range of
roses that grew there. Roses were our mother's favourite flower (mine too).
As a result of this visit, after Denise had returned to New York she began to
work on a collection of drawings, the subject being roses, a somewhat
different style of paintings that we were used too. From this Denise painted
a number of different types of roses and of various colours, of which I have
included two here. Out of these one of the painting was dedicated to our
mother and titled "A Rose Is A Rose, Gladys."
A second version of her retrospective works traveled to venues in Poland,
Hungary and Austria.
A 25 year survey show traveled within Australia in 2001.
Denise was chosen as Next Wave Festival artist, Brooklyn Academy of
Music, New York. .
A traveling retrospective exhibition was launched at Saarland Museum,
Saarbrucken, Germany in September, 2003 and will continue on to the
Museuem Kurhaus Kleve in April 2006.
Denise's latest book titled "Metonymy in Contemporary Art: A New
Paradigm" was published by Palgrave Macmillan Press this year and
is a mixture of her art and a self biobraphy.
Denise Green - Resonating
Catalogue in English with an
Essay by Tiffany Bell
Published by the Art Gallery
of New South Wales, Sydney
9 x 9 inches / 22.5 x 22.5 cm
40 pages, 27 pages in colour.
In the Spring 2006 issue of The Australian Consulate General's
Newsletter in New York there was a very interested article on
Denise's work. Those who maybe interested can click on the link
and once you are on this page, you should then go to the left hand side and
click on "Australians in New York".
You may also click on the below link to view Denise's web site.
Friday, August 11, 2006
My mother met my father (who was born and lived in Melbourne) in Brisbane