Abstraction and Representation on Equal Terms: A Studio Visit with Denise Green

By Jonathan Goodman

green_denise coverHow did living in Australia contribute to your decision to become an artist? At what point as a child or adolescent did you know you were bound to be an artist?

When I was young, my initiatives in art came from myself. My family did not take an interest in either art or creativity; as a result, my feelings for art arose spontaneously. I followed my own lights in becoming an artist since there was no one in the family to mentor me.

I found my first studio at the age of eight or nine; it was the space underneath my home in Brisbane.  Local homes were built on tall pilings in response to the hot, regional climate; the pilings enabled the air to circulate beneath the houses. Our own home had the additional advantage of privacy, in the form of a picket fence. Safely enclosed behind the fence, I drew for hours on end—I was alone but very happy.

In 1959, when I was a young adolescent, my father enrolled me in weekend morning drawing and painting classes, run by the town’s Youth Welfare Association. This was a transforming experience that led to further development. It happened because my father in fact recognized my increased interest in art and resulted in my increased confidence as an artist: I could indeed draw and paint.

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