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Australian art

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The studio



Garry Shead


1942 -


This work was a finalist in the Sulman Prize 2001 and was acquired by the Gallery the same year.

'The studio' is part of the 'Artist and the Muse' theme which grew out of the 'Dancer Sequence' paintings during the 1990's. It reflects, with tongue-in-cheek humour that has been part of Shead's vision form the outset of his career, his conciousness of artists of the past, and how so-called Erato, the muse of poetry, has infused her presence into their work. She is also at once the metaphor of love and erotic distraction, whom Shead has illustrated in several paintings depicting the artist in his studio with naked female figures.

The 'Artist' in each case may represent for him Goya, Rembrandt, or one of a host of other painter-heroes, if not himself. The painting, in other words, summarizes his concerns of the moment, as Grishin has written: 'I have been arguing that Shead felt himself to be one of the few who consciously sought out Erato, and that at certain periods in his life he felt that he both saw her and heard her and that he is a sense was a willing medium through which her inspiration could act' ["Garry Shead and the erotic muse", 2001, pg.164].

Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2001




Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


183.0 x 198.0 cm stretcher; 187.0 x 202.5 x 5.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, brown oil "Garry Shead 01".


Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 2001


Not on display

Accession number


Sir John Sulman Prize

- 2001

Artist information

Garry Shead

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 5 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2002, 'Year in review', pg. 8-25, Sydney, 2002, 8, 24.

Jane Hampson (Editor), Look, 'Important purchases: what the Society and Contempo bought for the the Gallery in 2001', pg. 16-17, Melbourne, Dec 2000-Jan 2001, 16 (colour illus.), 17.

Janet Hawley, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Just one look', pg. 50, Sydney, 18 Aug 2001, 50. 'Good Weekend' supplement of the Sydney Morning Herald Saturday edition.

Robert Nelson., Age, 'Satirical tone shows the artist as narcissist', Melbourne, 25 Aug 2001. Review of Australian Galleries exhibition in the 'Saturday Arts' section.

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'A painting to return to', pg. 4, Melbourne, Feb 2002, 4. Photograph shows Edmond Capon, Garry Shead and Prue Allen standing in front of the painting.