Hung fire
Hung fire

Rosalie Gascoigne

1917 - 1999 Hung fire 1995
  • retroreflective roadsign on wood
176 cm x 209 cm

'Your art has to come out of daily life. I really believe that if anyone is born an artist, they've only got to look at what's round their feet and what's available to them'. Rosalie Gascoigne, quoted in Vici Macdonald, Rosalie Gascoigne, Regaro, Paddington, 1998, p.9

Rosalie Gascoigne first exhibited in 1974 at the age of 57. Within a decade, her art created from everyday found objects as well as the weathered forms of the natural world, would be the subject of a major survey at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1978. Soon after in 1982 she represented Australia at the Venice Biennale. Gascoigne's career as one of Australia's foremost artists was assured from this point on.

On the eve of her second major survey exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2008, she was described by art historian Gerard Vaughan as possessing 'an endless capacity for invention and an almost magical ability to create beautiful and singularly poetic works from humble discarded materials'. [1]

Martin Gascoigne, the artist's son, provides this account of Gascoigne's discovery of the aesthetic potential of retroreflective roadsigns - the material used in Hung fire, in the Wesfarmers Collection:

'The first roadsigns she took home were, fortuitously, already cut up. They came from a roadside dump near Collector: Somebody had cut them into squares and they were all lying face downwards in the mud. Some of them had that white slash of paint on. Don't know what it was”very random."

Rosalie thought roadsigns were pretty hideous when you see them in the flesh and said that she would never have chosen in cold blood to use [them]...I bought them home for the grandchildren to play with...I kept some out in the courtyard and one day the rain washed down and they came up a glory. It was the flash, the glint that did it for her. It took me on my blind side.[2]

When it came to hanging a retroreflective roadsign work Rosalie always liked the glint to be brought out. I don't want it to be dramatically lit, but I do want it to sometimes flash at you, as roadsigns do, and then go sullen, then flash, like a living thing.[3]

Source: Martin Gascoigne, correspondence to Wesfarmers in April 2018

[1] Gerard Vaughan, in Rosalie Gascoigne, National Gallery of Victoria, exhibition catalogue, 2008 p.6

[2] and [3]: Rosalie Gascoigne, quoted in Ewen McDonald, Roadworks, in Rosalie Gascoigne, Colin McCahon - Sense of Place, exhibition catalogue, published for the Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts by the University of New South Wales, c1990, pp. 46-47


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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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