Normana Wight was born in Melbourne in 1936. She studied painting at RMIT (1954-57) and etching in London at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (1962-63). In 1964 she was teaching in Sydney and by the late 1960s had exhibited in a solo show at Pinacotheca (Melbourne, 1967) and also at Central Street Gallery (Sydney, 1968). Between 1966 and 1980 Wight held eight solo exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney, as well as group exhibitions of the Print Council of Australia and Contemporary Art Society, and lectured in printmaking at the University of Southern Queensland from 1981 - 1998. Her work is in the National Gallery of Australia, numerous state/ regional and university collections; she now lives in Queensland.
The late 1960s saw a number of clear influences on Wight’s work. In 1967 she saw Josef Albers’ book 'Interaction of Colour' (1963), unbound and with the original screen printed colour plates, at the State Library of Victoria. ‘‘The screenprints were about how a colour affects another when placed side by side. Colours of the same tonal value collide; similarly, warm and cool tones of the same colour met. After spending a few hours in the library soaking this up, I went home and dived in…”. The same year she saw the influential exhibition 'Two Decades of American Painting' at the National Gallery of Victoria, which brought major works of American post painterly abstraction to Melbourne. She was also interested in contemporary Scandinavian fabric design; “I don’t know which came first, Josef Albers’ treatise or Marimekko?’
Wight's work began to combine printmaking and painting techniques to create minimalist hard-edged works with shaped canvases, akin to those of many of her contemporaries who, influenced by the writings of Clement Greenberg, began creating highly refined works of reductive formalism, or 'post painterly abstraction'.
'The Field' (NGA/AGNSW 1968) presented these artists together in a forceful and unambiguous statement on a new Australian avant-garde that was international in its outlook and assertive of its centrality to contemporary Australian painting. An untitled work by Wight ’was included in 'The Field', the gouache study for which is in the Art Gallery of New South Wales' collection.
colour screenprint on paper
63.6 x 40.0 cm image; 76.7 x 56.0 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. pencil, "Normana Wight '69".
Purchased with funds provided by the Australian Collection Benefactors' Program 2016
Not on display
© Normana Wright