In this painting, Sharp appropriated a drawing made by the teenage daughter of his friend and newspaper columnist Ross Campbell—fourteen-year-old Cressida—painting directly over the original image. Campbell may have taken as her subject the newly crowned Miss Universe of 1972, Kerry Anne Wells, Australia’s first winner of the contest. Now an established Sydney printmaker, Cressida Campbell works in the medium of unique, hand-coloured woodcuts.
With its broad expanse of bright, flat colour, and simple, two-dimensional rendering of an icon of American popular culture—the beauty pageant contestant—Sharp acknowledges both the techniques and themes which characterise works of the pop art movement. Devoid of any erotic overtones which might be expected in the portrayal of a beauty queen, 'Miss Australia' shows Sharp at his satirical best, lampooning not only the notion of the artist as the lone creator, but also the very concept of the beauty contest in the age of feminism and sexual freedom.
Miss Australia - Painted over original drawing by Cressida Campbell (13) Greenwich
synthetic polymer paint on hardboard
181.7 x 147.3 cm board
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Not on display
© Estate of Martin Sharp. Licensed by Copyright Agency
Where the work was made
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Martin Sharp (1975), Coventry Gallery, Paddington, 23 Jul 1975–09 Aug 1975
Martin Sharp (1977), Coventry Gallery, Paddington, 21 Jun 1977–09 Jul 1977
Justin O'Brien and friends: a birthday celebration (1987), S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 06 Aug 1987–30 Aug 1987
Referenced in 3 publications
Coventry Gallery, Martin Sharp (1977), Sydney, 1977. cat.no. 7; titled 'Miss Australia - Painted over original drawing by Cressida Campbell (13) Greenwich 1975'; priced $3,000.
Coventry Gallery, Martin Sharp (1975), Sydney, 1975. cat.no. 95; titled ' titled 'Miss Australia - Painted over original drawing by Cressida Campbell (14) of Greenwich'; priced $3,000.
Natalie Wilson., Notes from the river caves: Peter Kingston and Martin Sharp, 'Notes from the River Caves: Peter Kingston and Martin Sharp', Sydney, 2006. Website catalogue for the 'Notes from the River Caves: Peter Kingston and Martin Sharp' exhibition held at the AGNSW in 2006.