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22 January - 7 February 2016
11am - 5pm Friday to Sunday
Ross Watson's spectacular and iconic portraits of Ian Roberts and Matthew Mitcham above have been selected for inclusion in the National Portrait Gallery exhibition Bare: Degrees of undress in Canberra between 14 August and 15 November 2015.
Exploring states of undress, Bare will map and decode the meanings, implications and symbolism of the removal of clothes within portraiture. The exhibition includes almost 95 works from the NPG's collection and a version of the exhibition will be touring to regional venues from late 2016.
You can read more about the exhibition here.
View both artworks at View all Edition Prints
Video production: Andrew Vance
Professor Dennis Altman opened Ross Watson's 2015 Melbourne exhibition, with an insightful and amusing speech. He is a writer and academic who first came to attention with the publication of his book Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation in 1972. He is Director of the Institute for Human Security at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, a member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society and Board Member of Oxfam Australia. In 2005 he was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University.
Altman's books, including The Homosexualization of America: the Americanization of the Homosexual and AIDS and the New Puritanism, explore sexuality, politics and their inter-relationship in Australia, the United States and around the world while Global Sex has been translated into five languages. Notably, Altman published Gore Vidal's America and Fifty First State?. His most recent book is his 2013 release The End of the Homosexual? (UQP).
2015 Celebrates the 15th Anniversary of the Ross Watson Gallery. Located in an 1888 Victorian Terrace House in Carlton North in Melbourne, the gallery is dedicated exclusively to the art of Ross Watson, whose international career spans 32 years.
Video production: Andrew Vance
"Ross it's absolutely stunning. Always one of my favourite Caravaggio's - the cheekiness of the winged Eros combined with the nude is just irresistible. One of your best!"
"An outstanding realist artist like Ross Watson is just the right person to help teach honesty to our emotions in art, and the essential beauty of sexual truth."
The Hon. Michael Kirby
Watch the making of the painting Untitled 04/14, featuring the artist and model Paul Cicchetti.
Video production: Andrew Vance
Stephen Fry (after Vermeer, 1670)
"Ross - I am completely astonished by this wonderful work.
Firstly, your generosity in terms of talent and time for the Terrence Higgins Trust is a gift so supreme it cannot properly be expressed.
Secondly, for me to be involved, to be inside a colour and texture world so perfectly rendered, so wittily transformed to suit me, and so accurate without being cruel, is an honour I shall never forget."
Ross Watson's superb portrait of singer Tina Arena now resides in the permanent collection of the Gold Coast City Art Gallery, a public museum in Queensland, Australia.
Arena, who is one of Australia's highest selling female artists, has previously declined to pose for painted portraits, but told Watson when she first saw his portrait of Stephen Fry, she knew the time had arrived.
The singer joins Watson's high profile subjects including Matthew Mitcham, The Hon. Michael Kirby, Jake Shears and Francois Sagat. Arena is celebrated in France, having been awarded a Knighthood of the Order of National Merit by President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009.
This handsome hard cover fine art book superbly illustrates Watson's finest paintings and photography, from numerous series spanning 15 years. Foreword written by Mark Henderson, Art Historian, formerly of the J. Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles.
The book includes a fascinating interview with the artist by former High Court Judge, The Hon. Michael Kirby.
This is an essential addition for collectors of fine art books and followers of the artist's career.
"An absolutely remarkable publication!
This book is wonderful documentary evidence of Ross Watson's diversity as an artist. It is much more than a coffee table book - this is an edition for collectors."
Professor Martin Comte OAM, PhD
Please let us know by email to whom you would like the book dedicated.
AU$175 CAD$220 US$200 €150 £120
Signed First Edition Price Including Postage and Handling
Size: 26 x 34 cm / 10.25 x 13.5 inch,
Format: Hardcover with dust jacket
Colour: full colour
"Ross' magnificent book arrived here in Edinburgh at lunch time today - very impressed that it left Melbourne on 15 September and it is here on 20th."
Brian and Rob
"I just received my signed Untitled # ROSS WATSON book in today's mail... positively stunning!"
Paul Russell, Havre de Grace USA
"The book arrived in four days - I'm astonished, so many beautiful paintings I'd not seen. Thanks Ross for signing it to me. I will cherish it."
Quentin Foy, New York City USA
"Wow, it really is an exceptional book! It arrived two days after I ordered it. Thank you so much."
James Harper, Sydney
Melbourne's broadsheet The Age gives a more than complementary review of Untitled # ROSS WATSON.
Read the whole story here.
Ross Watson's artwork, Untitled #12/09 (after Caravaggio, 1603), features on the cover of Sex before Sex, published by the University of Minnesota Press.
Will Stockton and James M. Bromley
Sex before Sex makes clear that we cannot simply transfer our contemporary notions of what constitutes a sex act into the past and expect them to be true for those who were then reading literature and watching plays. The contributors confront how our current critical assumptions about definitions of sex restrict our understanding of representations of sexuality in early modern England.
Stephen Fry and Ross Watson
Stephen Fry sat for a painting in Wellington, the result of which was included in Watson's London exhibition in September 2012, in aid of the Terrence Higgins Trust. The actor, writer, Prince of Twitter and self-confessed 'techno-geek' was excited at the prospect of being depicted in a painting complete with his iPad, after being introduced to Watson's art by Lance Corporal James Wharton. Fry later hosted Stephen Morgan and Ross Watson to an extraordinarily witty and memorable lunch.
The following day, the artist and his partner were invited to Fry's Wellington home for his 'returning to London brunch' after 3 months of filming Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit', in which he plays the greedy and grotesque 'Master of Lake-town'.
At the party, they met the Welsh actor, Luke Evans who relished playing a leading role of Bard in 'The Hobbit'. Watson and Morgan later had dinner with the handsome Evans, whose career has the trajectory of a rocket, recently starring in 'The Raven' and 'The Immortals'. Evans posed for a painting which resulted in one of the most popular artworks in the recent London exhibition.
Ross Watson, Sir Ian McKellen, Luke Evans and Stephen Morgan, at the London Exhibition Launch
Sir Elton John has purchased a set of Watson's 2012 photography, including this striking portrait of Grammy nominated singer-songwriter, Sam Sparro.
Sparro has returned to the forefront with his new electro-soul album "Return To Paradise", and a tour of Australia and the United States.
Ross Watson and Stephen Morgan recently had the pleasure of meeting with Sir Ian McKellen at his London home. He co-signed an Edition Print featuring Olympic diver, Matthew Mitcham. The exclusive and prized Edition Print has been gifted for fundraising to Stonewall UK.
"Beautiful subjects. Brilliant details. Wonderful light.
At once classic
The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG
The Hon. Michael Kirby, who opened the Classic De Novo Exhibition in Sydney
The Hon. Michael Kirby was one of the seven Justices of the High Court of Australia until February 2009. He has also served in many international and United Nations positions including Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations. Highly respected as a judge and lawyer, Michael Kirby is openly gay, and is well known for his insight, warmth and intelligence.
In 2010 he visited the Ross Watson Gallery, sat for a painting which explored the theme of mentoring, opened Watson's Sydney exhibition, and interviewed the artist for his most recent book, Untitled# ROSS WATSON.
View Michael Kirby's website: www.michaelkirby.com.au
The prestigious Ecole du Louvre, established in 1882 and located in the Louvre Museum, is an institution of higher education dedicated to the study of art history, archaeology and anthropology. Watson's now iconic painting depicting Francois Sagat as a saint, was analyzed at a lecture conducted by Maximilien Durand, which specialized in 'Saints and Homosexuality'.
The Australian Ambassador to Germany, Peter Tesch, and Ross Watson at the Gay Games VIII exhibition in Cologne.
"Isn't it marvellous! I'm incredibly flattered to have been depicted like this in such a stunning scene."
The National Portrait Gallery's Curator, Dr Christopher Chapman, says that "the National Portrait Gallery is very pleased to acknowledge Matthew Mitcham's contribution to sport and to the gay community by including his portrait in the collection. The painting is terrifically dynamic and is immensely popular with our visitors."
Ross Watson, Matthew Mitcham and Stephen Morgan at the Sydney Exhibition
Matthew Mitcham signing Edition Prints at the Sydney exhibition.
Ross Watson's recent painting featuring Australia's Olympic Gold Medal diving champion Matthew Mitcham is based on The fall of Phaeton by Sebastiano Ricci.
In the painting by Ricci, Phaeton, son of the sun-god Helios (or Apollo according to which version of mythology you favour), is falling from the sun chariot, as represented in Watson's painting by the falling horses. Watson has cleverly placed Matthew Mitcham in the bottom foreground of the painting – not in his usual pose of diving down, but this time rising up: perhaps to catch the falling Phaeton? It is a brilliant move by Watson to turn Mitcham 'upside-down' – that is, right way up! A lesser artist might have portrayed Mitcham as Phaeton himself. But no – Phaeton is falling and not diving: unlike Mitcham when he descends head-first, Phaeton is not in control. Watson introduces Mitcham as a new element that does not appear in Ricci's original work.
No representation of Watson's painting can capture its vibrant colours – particularly the background turquoise. Is this Watson's acknowledgement of the water in which Mitcham is triumphant? Or is it to represent the notion of cool water in opposition to the heat of the sun?
In Watson's painting we have the progeny of the sun-god falling into the arms of a 'water-god': a wonderful juxtaposition of opposites. It is Mitcham and not Phaeton who shines in this work.
Professor Martin Comte OAM, PhD
Marco Da Silva, Kylie Minogue's most popular dancer, visited Watson's recent Berlin exhibition and modeled for Untitled 19/09 (after Caravaggio, 1596)
'Love conquers all; let us all yield to love!': In his second reference of Caravaggio's 'Victorious Cupid', Watson's superb feature-painting for his upcoming Berlin exhibition explores the notion of the disposable and the sustainable in today's society. Depicted life-sized, contemporary German model Marcel holds a digital camera and stands in the foreground of the 17th Century scene. Watson produces just one painting of this size and calibre each year.
"On my many visits to the Gemaldegalerie I have felt a strong connection with Carravaggio's paintings, being struck by the almost photographic naturalism of his technique. The candid expression of cupid here is a perfect example. In Caravaggio's era everything was hand-crafted, cared for and kept, unlike so much today including many digital images which are discarded. I decided to paint Marcel lifesize to increase the level of realism".
This painting after Caravagio 1603 (Oil on board, 75 x 85 cm / 30" x 33") was sold to a private collection in London for US$21,500. Paintings included in the forthcoming Berlin exhibition may be pre-purchased, and will be available for shipping ex-Berlin July 1.
Melbourne's broadsheet The Age has a full page article on Ross Watson and his art.
Read the whole story here.
MÄNNER Magazine Germany February 2009 Issue has a double page feature on Ross Watson.
This painting which references Hans Holbein's (The Younger) 'Sir Thomas More', was commissioned by a Melbourne collector who is a lawyer, and who features on the painting's right side. Sir Thomas More was King Henry VIII's lawyer and was beheaded after King Henry commuted the sentence from hanging, drawing and quartering. Subsequently canonised, Saint Thomas More is a patron saint of lawyers and statesmen.
Holbein's painting hangs in The Frick Museum in New York, where Ross and the collector have enjoyed viewing it. This painting was the sole suggestion the collector made to Ross, and the rest was a surprise. On seeing it finished he commented, "Oh Ross, it far exceeds my greatest expectations".
DENNIS ALTMAN TO OPEN SYDNEY EXHIBITION:
In 1971, Dennis Altman published his book Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation - considered an important intellectual contribution to the ideas that shaped Australia's gay liberation movement. In 2005, he also published Gore Vidal's America, a study, as the title suggests, of Gore Vidal and his writings on history, politics, sex, and religion.
In 1985, Altman accepted an appointment at La Trobe University, where he later became Professor of Politics; he was appointed the visiting Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University from January 2005.
Sir Elton John was thrilled to receive from Ross Watson a complete set of photographs from his current Melbourne exhibition - Catalogue XXVII Photographs.
Elton has bought three large photographs from the series for his private collection.
Gifted to the ELTON JOHN AIDS FOUNDATION and valued at AUS$30,000, the photographs will be auctioned at Elton's 2007 White Tie and Tiara Ball.
Ross and partner Stephen Morgan, introduced high profile AFL footballers, Brodie Holland and Paul Licuria, to Elton at a back-stage party at his Melbourne concert Sunday 3rd December.
Ross' 2006 London exhibition received the greatest number of visitors, editorial coverage and commissions of any exhibition to date.
The classical references in the paintings caught the attention of the Libraries and Archive Department at The National Gallery in London, who have requested related artwork for their historical records.
Ross' art and career is profiled in the FOX8 Television series OUT & ABOUT (Series 1, Episode 5 - Melbourne), screening in Australia, North America, Europe and the U.K.
#17/04 SELECTED FOR NGV COVER:
Ross Watson's painting Untitled #17/04 (after Jacques-Louis David, 1784; featuring Brodie Holland) has been selected for the cover of Issue 1 of the quarterley journal Australian Football. It is this edition that will be used as a souvenir for the National Gallery of Victoria's "The Spirit of Football" exhibition.
The National Portrait Gallery exhibits Untitled #9/03 (after Coypel, 1709 - Ian Roberts), the museum's board having approved the painting for the permanent collection, which includes portraits of famous Australians - from Cathy Freeman to Kylie Minogue. Featuring Australia's most famous gay man, ex football star, now NIDA Drama Academy graduate, it is the first painting depicting Ian Roberts in the museum's collection.
Paintings may be commissioned and attract a 30% fee (ie. a painting of the size catalogued at $20,000, would be $26,000). As the collector, you will enjoy the opportunity to communicate your favorite themes, classical artists and models. The final concept is arrived at through a process of negotiation between the collector and the artist. The proposed concept must be of relevance to the artist's work, and he reserves the right to decline a proposal. A non-refundable deposit of 50% is required on the commission's commencement, and the balance due on completion after we have forwarded you an image of the painting by email.
Elton John and Ross Watson, Melbourne 2012
"Having known Ross Watson for a long time, and been a collector
of his art, I had the opportunity recently to visit his gallery,
which reconfirmed my belief that he is a great talent. I never
tire of his paintings - he is a leader in contemporary realism."
Sir Elton John
"Ross Watson's paintings are obviously the work of a master of technique. The conjunction of modern naturalism and classic works makes it hard to believe one's eyes.
His newest work is irresistible because it has been inspired by the generous nature of a concerned citizen. We admire him and wonder."
"Ross' work masterfully encapsulates realism and desire."
Scissor Sisters front man, Jake Shears, relaxing with Ross after modeling for new paintings and photographs.
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ROSS WATSON GALLERY
465 Nicholson Street
Carlton North, 3054