Tag Archives: art history

Volunteer Positions Available

Volunteer Gallery Assistant Positions Available – INTAKE EVERY JAN, APRIL, JULY & OCTOBER .


The Royal Queensland Art Society, Brisbane Branch are looking for passionate, proactive people to join our team at Petrie Terrace Gallery.

About us:

The Petrie Terrace Gallery is owned and operated by the Brisbane Branch of the Royal Queensland Art Society (RQAS). The RQAS is a not for profit organisation and was born in 1884, formed by a group of like-minded artists and was formally established in 1887.

The objectives of the RQAS are to encourage and promote the cultivation and appreciation of the fine arts, and provide an artist hub for artists of all genres and encourage the visual arts, provide support to artists, networking opportunities and present exhibitions.


The following volunteer positions are available:


  • Library and Cataloguing Assistants.

Short Term 3 – 6 months, Volunteer Position.


The historic and important collection of rare books and exhibition ephemera of the RQAS Library is being digitalised and re-catalogued. We are seeking art history students, art history enthusiasts and research students to assist us in this task. This project will be a rewarding and valuable experience for anyone wanting to work in these fields. Computer and archiving skills would be an advantage though all training will be provided.



  • Gallery Assistants (Administration and Front of House Gallery Duty)

Casual – Ongoing position, Volunteer Position.


Petrie Terrace Gallery are seeking casual assistants who wish to gain experience in the front of house operations of an art gallery. The role will include administration duties, sales and general enquiries, art handling, and occasional assistance in curating and promotion.  An interest in the arts and previous experience in retail and / or administration would be an advantage though all training will be provided.


To apply please complete the following form & we will get in touch with you shortly.

For more information please contact our Gallery Coordinator on  (07) 3367 1977 or email her at gallery@rqas.com.au


The Royal Queensland Art Society “Fellows” – a potted history

The history of the Royal Queensland Art Society “Fellows” began in the late 1960’s when grading of membership was discussed by council, however it was put on the continual backburner for a couple of decades. The society did have Honorary Life Members as well as Honorary or Privileged Members, the later often awarded to folk who supported the RQAS for long periods of time, however many of these folk were excluded from voting rights at AGM’s and meetings. Life membership was first awarded in 1907, with renowned sculptor Harold Parker the first. Others to be awarded this honour included: Daphne Mayo, L.J. Harvey, Dr James V. Duhig, Melville Haysom, Caroline Barker, Harold & Agnes Richardson, Nan Paterson[i]and Karen Kane, the longest serving secretary with the RQAS. When the society held its centenary exhibition in 1987, it looked again at its history and reignited the discussion for the status of members, including Fellows. In April/May, 1988 a sub-committee comprising: Betty Manzie, Ada Ludlow, Dianna Martin, Mary Norrie, Beth Woo and Sheelah Mee, along with Glenn R. Cooke from the Queensland Art Gallery once again considered Fellows as an important addition of the RQAS

The inaugural proposed list consisted of Irene Amos, Nevil Matthews, John Rigby and William Robinson to form a foundation fellowship,[ii]with additional names later being added: Dr Lloyd Rees, Margaret Olley, Don Hamilton, Patricia Prentice, Ann Thompson and Madonna Staunton.[iii]All these artists were connected to the RQAS as former members, with only Irene Amos and Don Hamilton currently active with the society. The only artist with basically no real connection to the RQAS was William Robinson. The rules discussed were that the recipients have made obvious commitment to the arts outside the society as in exhibition, awards, education, publication and the general promotion of the visual arts. All the artists mentioned here fulfilled these qualities, however the important requirement of [must be a member], disqualified most of the names put forward. Betty Manzie stated: “Let’s face it – if these artists think we are so far down the road, they will not want to help us raise our standards, in which case we forget the whole thing.”[iv]Glenn R. Cooke believed that this direction of appointing Fellows was necessary for the future development of the society.[v]

In August, 1991 the RQAS was incorporated into the new Friendly Societies Act, with former president, G. Maclean Offner rewriting the society constitution, and in so doing opened the doors for the introduction of “Fellows”. On the 19 July, 1992,[vi]the inaugural RQAS “Fellows” were awarded to Margaret Olley, Dr Irene Amos and Dr George D. Williamson. Margaret Olley was well known in art circles in Queensland and nationally, however her involvement with the RQAS was as a student in the early 1940’s, although little involvement had occurred since. She was unable to attend the presentation due to other commitments.[vii]Dr Irene Amos had been a member of the RQAS since 1961 and had achieved many things in her career. She was the first woman to receive a Doctorate in Creative arts at the University of Wollongong in 1990 and in 1991 was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her services to the arts in Queensland. Dr George D. Williamson had only been a member since 1987[viii]but has been a supporter of the RQAS for many years in selecting a number of annual exhibitions during the 1960’s and 1970’s, as well as presenting lectures and talks to society members on art related topics. He promoted the arts through the Queensland Education Department and he received an Honorary Doctorate in Cultural Education from the World University in Arizona, USA in 1988[ix]. He was attached mainly to the Gold Coast branch and served as their president a number of times. On receiving this honour, Williamson said: “I shall endeavour to be a worthy fellow in the high standards and traditions of the society”.[x]

Ada Ludlow was the first woman to be elected president of the RQAS and had an extensive exhibition history outside the RQAS. She was also the society gallery director and in 1995 she was the fourth to be appointed a Fellow. The following year Mary Norrie was appointed, and she felt honoured to be invited to join such a famous group.[xi]Seven years would go by until others would be nominated as Fellows, and in 2003 four more would join this prestigious group. At the AGM in October watercolourists Don Hamilton and Charles Ludlow, along with Audrey Gibbs and Penelope Gilbert-Ng were presented their awards by Dr Irene Amos, assisted by president, John Pyke and Brisbane chairman Arthur B. Palmer. At the time Penny was the youngest RQAS artist to receive this award. Also up for consideration around this time was Phyllis Schneider, she had been a member since 1964, and from 1986 she served as the society librarian until her passing in February 2004. She was posthumously made a Fellow that year. In 2005 Esther Austin, Dr Grahame Readshaw and Gold Coast member, Peter Abraham became appointed Fellows. Esther had served as president and had over 14 Solo exhibitions to her credit exhibiting at Logan and Port Moresby including a Retrospective of her work at the Logan Art Gallery in 2004.[xii]In 2018 she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal  (OAM) for her services to the visual arts. Dr Readshaw had been a member since 1971 and he had extensively written on painting techniques and had a number of articles published in Australian Artist, as well as two books. Sadly he passed away in April 2015.


Peter Abraham was a gifted draughtsman and in his first Solo show at the Moreton Galleries in April, 1948, the Queensland Art Gallery purchased one of his works[xiii]not bad for someone only 21 years old. He won some prestigious prizes during his career including the Crouch Prize in 1962. The Fellows held their first exhibition as a group at the RQAS in July/August, 2004. The exhibition was opened by renowned Queensland artist John Rigby, 63 works were displayed by the 10 Fellows exhibiting, with Phyllis Schneider represented by works from her estate, and Ethel Williamson providing work from her late husband. In April/May, 2006 the second exhibition of the RQAS Fellows was held and opened by artist Dale Marsh, with Esther Austin, Peter Abraham and Dr Grahame Readshaw exhibiting for the first time. Margaret Olley’s etching Turkish Pots & Lemmonwas loaned to the exhibition by Phillip Bacon Galleries, with Mary Norrie and George Williamson represented with works from private collections and the RQAS collection.

The list of names grew and five more were inducted as Fellows in 2006. Margaret Raymond, Glen Gillard, Win Robbins, Brian Williams and Peter Hubbard had their awards presented to them by Dr Irene Amos. Margaret Raymond had a long association with the RQAS and had also served as librarian for many years, and was an associate of the Royal South Australian Society of Arts, as well as illustrating a number of books. Glen Gillard is the painter’s painter, at home in oils and watercolours, and excelling in still life, landscape and portraiture, He was a finalist in the 1990 Doug Moran Portrait Prize, and has had a successful career in painting murals, his first commission was at Bowen in 1989. Win Robbins had the distinction as the longest living serving member of the RQAS, having joined in 1943[xiv]. She was attached to the Gold Coast branch, serving as secretary and president as well as president of the Brisbane branch. She was a fine portrait painter and was a finalist in the 1958 Archibald Prize. She passed away in 2011. Brian Williams had been a member since the late 1950’s, and had always promoted the society in any way he could. He was a gentle articulate man and a painter of quality. He was the last society artist, whose work Cleaning Fish was acquired by the Queensland Art Gallery from an RQAS annual exhibition in 1960.

Peter Hubbard’s involvement with the RQAS began in the early 1960’s and although his art career had a considerable gap, he returned to painting in the late 1980’s and reacquainted himself with the RQAS. He also served as society gallery director for a number of years. Others nominated around this time included Donald P. Vernon and Sue Victorsen, but both declined the nomination.  On 9August, 2008, John Massy opened the 3rdFellows exhibition comprising 66 works from 18 Fellows. Some delightful works were on display including Dr Grahame Readshaw’s monochromatic watercolour, Wynnum, Banksiasby Peter Abraham, Impish Self Portrait by Peter Hubbard, showing his quirky side and the delightful Goat Boyby Brian Williams. The entire exhibition oozed with charm.[xv]Six years would transpire before another four would be appointed, with society president, Dr Kay Kane, and RQAS stalwarts, Max Butler, Irene McKean and Sue Victorsen. Their awards were presented at the 2012 AGM by RQAS Inc. president, John Pyke.

In September, 2013 the 4thFellows exhibition was held under the title The Fellows’ Choice, and for the first time only living fellows had their work on display. The exhibition was officially opened by the state member for Bardon, Saxon Rice MP. This was also the first Fellows exhibition in the society’s new premises at Petrie Terrace. In reviewing the exhibition, Greg de Silva stated: “I venture to suggest getting together an exhibition of Fellows’ work, including work from Fellows now deceased, would produce an exhibition of even more diverse and outstanding work, while further revealing the strength in depth of members of the Royal Queensland Art society.”[xvi]On the 29 September, 2013, Greg de Silva, Beverly Tainton and Francis Rowland-Wregg also joined the ranks of the RQAS Fellows. Once again RQAS Inc. president, John Pyke did the honours in presenting the awards. Greg de Silva said “They don’t come along every day, and to be acknowledged by your peers is humbling and a very nice thing, Bev, Frances and I will continue with our art careers and we are now ambassadors for the Royal Queensland Art Society so we will keep working for the betterment of the arts.”[xvii]

The 5thFellows exhibition was held in May/June, 2015 and was opened by arts patron, John Massy to a capacity crowd. He remarked that just because you have made it as a Fellow, doesn’t mean your job is done, you have an obligation to keep producing work of a high standard and to continue promoting the RQAS and the visual arts. The exhibition comprised of 66 works, again with only living fellow’s, with the exception of Dr Grahame Readshaw, who had only passed away just before the exhibition opened. Audrey Gibbs won the “People’s Choice” award, as voted by the viewing public. Sadly she passed away not long after this exhibition at the age of 94. A trend was setting in and Chas Ludlow soon followed at 92 years. At the AGM that year, four more were inducted as Fellows including: Joan Cooper, Ruby Eaves, Dr Christine Kirkegard and Graham W. Smith. All were in attendance to accept their awards, except Ruby Eaves, now living in Toowoomba, was unable to attend, committee member and fellow watercolourist, Anne Roberts accepted on her behalf.

In 2016 another three were made Fellows, they were Moreen Neil, Joanne Heath and Gold Coast member, Heather Blackstock. Moreen Neil served the society for many years, and after Phyllis Schneider retired as society librarian, Moreen filled this gap for a considerable number of years. Joanne Heath’s artistic output covered sculpture, print making, painting and photography she is an all- rounder. Heather Blackstock served as Vice-President of the Gold Coast branch for a time, and this was not her only stab at nominating as a Fellow with the society. She was nominated by Win Robbins more than once[xviii]and although she presented an excellent CV, her nomination was unsuccessful at that time.[xix]It was good that she was continually nominated by her branch for her contributions to the visual arts and the RQAS, it finally paid off.

Sadly another RQAS Fellow succumbed to age, and at 96 years, Margaret Raymond passed away in May 2018, still drawing and sketching only a few weeks before she died.[xx]If a national treasure was attached to the RQAS, then Margaret Raymond could proudly wear that title, having been a loyal and active member for more than 60 years.[xxi]With the 6thFellows exhibition due to open in January, 2019, curator Peter Hubbard has assembled all Fellows with the society since inception to be on display, including those now deceased. For most of these no longer with us will be represented from the RQAS collection, with Peter Abraham, Win Robbins and George Williamson represented through private collections. The most exciting thing for Peter was the loan of a significant Margaret Olley painting for the exhibition from the Ipswich City Art Gallery collection. This exhibition will be an inspiring look at the work of these talented artists, all have contributed to the wider visual art scene, but also significantly to the RQAS.

What’s been written is but a glimpse of the history of the RQAS “Fellows” and the contributions they made for a better cultural life in Queensland.

Greg de Silva, FRQAS                                                                © Greg de Silva: May 2015; January, 2019

[i]Keith Bradbury & Glenn R. Cooke, Thorns & Petals: 100 Years of Royal Queensland Art Society, RQAS Brisbane, 1988; RQAS Minutes 9 May, 1989

[ii]Fellowship Sub-Committee Meeting, 24 May, 1988

[iii]Sub-Committee report, 13 April, 1988


[v]G. Maclean Offner Letter to Irene Amos, 27 July, 1988

[vi]RQAS Newsletter, July/August, 1992

[vii]Margaret Olley Letter to RQAS

[viii]Application for Membership, 24 December, 1987

[ix]Greg de Silva, Knowledge and Skills: The Art of George D. Williamson (1927-2000), RQAS, 2002

[x]George Williamson Letter to RQAS, 28 April, 1992

[xi]Mary Norrie letter to RQAS, 4 November, 1996

[xii]Karen Kane & Greg de Silva, Royal Queensland Art Society Inc. 3rdFellows Exhibition, 9 August-5 September, 2008

[xiii]Art Sale, Telegraph, 20 April, 1948

[xiv]Bradbury & Cooke, op. cit

[xv]RQAS Newsletter, September/October, 2008

[xvi]Greg de Silva, “Good Artistic Choices”, RQAS Newsletter, October, 2013

[xvii]Douglas Estwick, “Talented threesome receive fellowships”, South-West News, 29 January, 2014

[xviii]RQAS Minutes, 12 May, 1992

[xix]RQAS Letter to Heather Blackstock, 21 April, 1992

[xx]Phone Conversation with Rob Raymond, 28 May, 2018

[xxi]Greg de Silva, “Arts stalwart a national treasure”, Courier-Mail, 18 June, 2018


[1]Keith Bradbury & Glenn R. Cooke, Thorns & Petals: 100 Years of Royal Queensland Art Society, RQAS Brisbane, 1988; RQAS Minutes 9 May, 1989

[1]Fellowship Sub-Committee Meeting, 24 May, 1988

[1]Sub-Committee report, 13 April, 1988


[1]G. Maclean Offner Letter to Irene Amos, 27 July, 1988

[1]RQAS Newsletter, July/August, 1992

[1]Margaret Olley Letter to RQAS

[1]Application for Membership, 24 December, 1987

[1]Greg de Silva, Knowledge and Skills: The Art of George D. Williamson (1927-2000), RQAS, 2002

[1]George Williamson Letter to RQAS, 28 April, 1992

[1]Mary Norrie letter to RQAS, 4 November, 1996

[1]Karen Kane & Greg de Silva, Royal Queensland Art Society Inc. 3rdFellows Exhibition, 9 August-5 September, 2008

[1]Art Sale, Telegraph, 20 April, 1948

[1]Bradbury & Cooke, op. cit

[1]RQAS Newsletter, September/October, 2008

[1]Greg de Silva, “Good Artistic Choices”, RQAS Newsletter, October, 2013

[1]Douglas Estwick, “Talented threesome receive fellowships”, South-West News, 29 January, 2014

[1]RQAS Minutes, 12 May, 1992

[1]RQAS Letter to Heather Blackstock, 21 April, 1992

[1]Phone Conversation with Rob Raymond, 28 May, 2018

[1]Greg de Silva, “Arts stalwart a national treasure”, Courier-Mail, 18 June, 2018

The River City Shares It’s Secrets

Opening event: Wednesday 21st November 7pm

Exhibition Dates: 20th November till 2nd Dec

Petrie Terrace Gallery is thrilled to be hosting “Brisbane Secrets” a solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by Robyn Bauer.

Brisbane Secrets follows on from her 2016 exhibition “Brisbane Stories” and delving deeper into the life of the river city. Bauer’s colourful paintings lead the viewer to hidden spots around the suburban landscape. These Brisbane scenes though sometimes unknown to the viewer conjure a familiarity and sense of nostalgia, capturing perfectly the sleepy humidity and lingering summer light of Brisbane’s inner-city suburbs. Bauer’s work translates this mood so perfectly that when gazing upon the paintings you can almost smell the petrichor.

As well as a variety of Brisbane scenes in and around the inner-city suburbs Bauer will be displaying work from her 100 Churches Project which started out as a simple visual record of various local churches but grew into a much more elaborate project combining research and documentation stretching to every corner of the urban environment.  Bauer speaks with passion on the project saying “I was fascinated by how each building where people congregated, fit into its individual landscape, with its own topography, vegetation, light and weather effects, and the ambience of urban life and shared experience. I aimed for an honest record of how that location appeared on that particular day, rather than a picturesque depiction of its “best face”. The aim of this approach was to allow a more universal experience.”

Robyn Bauer with one of her iconic Brisbane scenes.

Brisbane based artist Robyn Bauer is an institution in the Queensland Art Scene.  Besides being a celebrated artist within her own right, she is also a gifted art historian and educator taking up key positions at Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland University of Technology and the Brisbane Institute of art. Robyn is also active in the artistic community of Brisbane involved with Urban Sketchers, The RQAS and Sculptors Queensland.

Join us for the opening event on Wednesday 21st November 7pm. The exhibition continues till 2nd December and will be open 10am – 4pm every day.

For a private viewing outside of hours please contact our gallery director Rochelle Lindquist on (07) 3367 1977.

The Modernism Awards Night

Exhibition dates: 7th August till 31st August


Our first ever Modernism exhibition opened last Wednesday evening to a packed house at our own Petrie Terrace Gallery. This open exhibition called for artists to create work in the style of their favourite modernist artist or movement and our artists didn’t disappoint. A total of 59 artworks are on display by 38 artists, the ecliptic exhibition includes cubist works, fauvism, impressionism, surrealism and art nouveau to name a few.

Our judge for the exhibition was Vanessa Van Ooyen senior curator at QUT Art Museum and William Robinson Gallery. You can find her judges’ comments and a list of the winners below.

” I am Van Gogh”, by Gemma Garcia-Roman. Picture by Joanne Heath


1st Prize 

“I am Van Gogh” # 58 – Gemma Garcia Roman

“Gemma’s work draws upon the stories surrounding the life of the great Modernist artist, Vincent Van Gogh, cutting his ear off.

Her hand built ceramic work is playful in its exaggerated forms and colour, displaying technical skill across mediums in the hand built ceramic and portrait of Vincent. It’s a unique and witty interpretation of this great artist’s pain.”

Members of Mars Collab from left; Stephen Kelly, Margot Tidey and Cody Robb with their award-winning work “After Balson 1947”

2nd Prize 

“After Balson, 1947” # 36 – MarS Collab.

“Clever conceptual work that questions the uniqueness of the art object and ideas of authenticity inspired by one of our great Abstractionists working in this country, Ralph Balson. What will the artwork be in the future if a computer can artificially generate it? What is the nature of creativity in a world where computers are increasing the tool of choice and arbiter of knowledge.”

“Two Sister” By Olga Bakhtina.

3rd Prize 

“Two Sisters” # 8 – Olga Bakhtina

“This work reminds me of the exquisite female Modernists working in Paris in the early part of the 19th Century such as Marie Launcerin. There is a confidence in this work with its sophisticated composition, curvilinear forms, use of colour, texture and pattern. I love the balance of boldness and subtlety in this work”.


“It does Look like her Jackson, Just ask Miro” By Greg de Silva.

Highly Commended

“It does look like her Jackson, Just ask Miro” # 58 Greg De Silva

“Melding some of the greats of the 20th century such as Miro, Pollock and Picasso as inspiration this work brings a smile as you comprehend the huge disparity of styles in what is simply termed ‘Modernism’.”

Drop by the gallery before Friday 31st August to see this wonderful exhibition and to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award!

Modernism: Fast not Fleeting

Image: “Adelaide Nightscape” By Mike White to be featured in the RQAS Modernism Exhibition Opening on Wednesday 8th August 7pm.


We often say now that life moves fast, our world is ever-changing from fashion trends to technology and industry and it can be hard to keep up. If you have ever wondered when western society started to put the pedal to the metal it can traced back to the age of modernity. Following the period of enlightenment in the early 19th century, the age of modernity began and with it the innovations of industry and technology that have lead us to today.

In the art world Modernism as a movement can be traced back to 1860s. The movement began with Manet and proto-impressionism and culminated in Abstract Expressionism and Jackson Pollack’s drip paintings of the 1950s. In a way this timeline can be seen as a gradual flattening of the picture plane and reduction of subject matter. In Clement Greenberg’s famous words “Realistic, naturalistic art had disassembled the medium, using art to conceal art; Modernism used art to call attention to art.” In essence by the time Jackson Pollack was pouring and flicking his brush on larger than life canvas, paintings were no longer of people or places, paintings were of paint.

To understand that progression we must take a step back to the first Modernist painters – Manet and his school of impressionists. These artists rejected mimesis and the idea of the painting as a window into another world, the techniques they used evolved and became painterly. They played with perspective rendering the picture plane illogical.  But that was not all, for the first time in art instead of subject matter drawn from mighty Greek mythology or religious rhetoric, they pursued subjects of modern life; the Flaneur on the streets, the gentlemen and ladies strolling in the public gardens or the underbelly of the Parisian nightclub scenes. Their choices in style, technique and subject matter revolutionised the art world and the term “Impressionists” initially coined by a journalist and intended as an insult now reminds us of the subtle beauty of the Monet’s Lilies, or the muted melancholy of Degas’s Absinthe Drinker.

And thus Modernism began with a bang disrupting centuries old traditions and much like the locomotive of the same vintage took off going faster and further than anyone could have predicted. Impressionism was followed by post-impressionism, Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism, Dadaism, The Avant Garde, Surrealism, De Stijl, Colour Field Painting and Abstract Expressionism.  With the same velocity the world changed and evolved giving way to new technologies and industries. From industrialism to electricity to photography, film and automobiles, aeroplanes and radio, it really was a time of rapid change and with this change shifts to societal perception, attitudes and art.

Modernism is without a doubt one of the fastest shifting and most influential periods of art history and yet each movement contained with the kaleidoscopic sphere of Modernism though fast was not fleeting, the mass appeal of Impressionism, Cubism or Surrealism continues to thrive finding a new audience with each generation of art lovers.

The RQAS’s Petrie Terrace Gallery is holding its first Modernism Exhibition opening on Wednesday 8th August 7pm. Come along and meet the artists and discuss why this period of art is still so captivating today.