On August 5th, the exhibition Slow Burn – A century of Australian women artists from a private collection, will open at the S.H. Ervin Gallery. I have spent the past four months working very hard on the exhibition catalogue and am very proud to be a co-author on such an exciting and important project. Of the 102 artists from the collection, I researched and wrote 47 of the bios – the reason the Feasting on Art posts have been quite infrequent. The collection ranges “from the delicate pastels of Janet Cumbrae Stewart to the modernist prints of Margaret Preston through to the bio-techno sculptures of Patricia Piccinini. The works in the exhibition demonstrate the skill and versatility of women artists over the past hundred years” (S.H. Ervin Gallery). In honour of the exhibition I plan to do a mini-series featuring a few of the artists represented in the collection as well as one or two of the artworks that I did not write about for the book. The exhibition will be on view at the S.H. Ervin Gallery until the 19th of September.

Margaret Olley, Still life with mandarins, c.1975
oil on board, 76 x 122 cm, Private collection

As one of Australia’s best known still life artists, Margaret Olley has enjoyed a successful career and many accolades, including the Companion of the Order of Australia. Her compositions are perfectly balanced with rich colours depicting intimate interior scenes. Olley tends to paint the objects from her own home demonstrating an acute attention to detail. She rarely paints a single objects but instead creates groupings of fruits, flowers, and vases. In her paintings the spatial relationships between the objects are as important as the objects themselves. In 1997 Olley was declared an ‘Australian National Treasure’ and a major retrospective was held at the Art Gallery of NSW.

{Orange Grapefruit Marmalade}

makes 2 jars

2 oranges
1 pink grapefruits
1 lemons
1 litre water
1 c sugar

Scrub the skin of the fruit and cut in half removing all visible seeds. Place in a large pot and cover with water (about 1 litre). Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour uncovered.

Remove the fruit from the water and strain out all seeds. Finely mince the fruit while carefully retaining all juices and flesh. Discard any hard bits. Return the flesh to the pot of water and add 1 c sugar. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat for an additional 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, sterilise two canning jars and set aside on clean towels. Once the jam is ready, take it off the heat and carefully ladle into jars. Screw on the lid tightly and overturn the jars on a cutting board allowing the jam to cool. Ready to eat immediately and will keep for several weeks.