To understand Helen Maudsley’s work, you must surrender certainty. Composed of fragmentary buildings, figures and landscapes, her “visual essays” are puzzles – intentionally ambiguous yet with enough patience and curiosity, waiting to be read.
In a muted palette of purples and greens, ‘The Imprint of What Was Once There’ is almost ghostly. Its poetic title is a clue – perhaps Mausdley has painted a street scene with traces of all the buildings that ever occupied it; perhaps not. To appreciate her work, is to accept the slippages between sight and interpretation, the deeply personal act of looking for meaning.
Maudsley is a key figure in Australian art history. The wife to John Brack, she has been described as underappreciated – a slight that is being redressed with a 2017 exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria and inclusion in the National Gallery of Australia’s seminal ‘Know My Name Exhibition’ and collection by the British Museum.
In the words of esteemed art historian Sasha Grishin:
“[Maudley’s paintings] invite you to commerce a very personal journey through which the viewer will seek to decipher the clues, symbols, formulas… assembled by the artist.”
Step inside Maudsley’s beguiling world with ‘The Imprint of What Was Once There’.
Helen MAUDSLEY (1927 - )
'The Imprint of What Was Once There' 1996
Oil on canvas on plywood
Image Size: 33 x 30 cm
Framed Dimensions: 38 x 35 x 5 cm
Signed: Signed lower right: H Maudsley; Dated lower right: 1996
Comes with Letter of Provenance
Exhibited: Helen Maudsley: Paintings and Drawings 1995 -1996, Deutscher Fine Art, September, 1996, cat no. 7
Condition: Very Good
© The Artist or Assignee