Decoration without Ornamentation

Margaret Preston is one of my all time favourite Australian artist. I love how bold and stylised her work its. Her focus on Australian flora and landscape. Her use of pattern and line. Her strength and individuality. The undeniable influence of the orient. Her shameless appropriation of Indigenous Australian Art. Her call to modernism in a conservative country. Her impulse for decorating…

“Decoration without ornamentation. Enough or too much, one of Preston’s many aphorisms, remained a primary objective and pre-occupation in her work. In 1913 she wrote to Australian artist, Norman Carter: I was very interested to hear of your decorative work – it’s the only thing worth aiming for this century – its really the key note of everything – I’m trying all I know to reduce my still lifes to decorations and I find it fearfully difficult.”



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