An art for Australia: 1920s
In decades of particular prominence for women artists,
Preston brought the principles of modern decorative design to Australian
modernism. She led a revival of colour woodblock printing with vibrant
images of the modern metropolis and Australian flowers which have
guaranteed her a perennial popularity. She was a forceful voice
committed to issues of female relevance and democratising the arts.
Preston introduced a distinctly national subject
matter into her still lifes by the late 1920s, creating works which
have come to be seen as icons of Australian modernism. In a visual
language derived from Aboriginal form and colour, she worked to
bring her art into line with her perceptions of a changing modernity
- encapsulating the decade’s preoccupation with geometrical
and rhythmic construction.