VIRGINIA CUPPAIDGE: the nature of abstraction

Free exhibition

Virginia Cuppaidge is recognised as one of Australia’s foremost abstract painters. Her connections with Newcastle have been enduring and with this the recent donation of the geometric painting Saix 1974 to the Newcastle Art Gallery collection in 2018.

The exhibition is a survey of the last forty plus years work by the artist and maps the career of the one of Australia's leading painters. The exhibition marks and celebrates Cuppaidge's return to Australia after four decades in New York. This career survey brings together works from the Newcastle Art Gallery collection, key state and national collections and the artist's own holdings from the period of 1972-2012, covering four distinct periods of her prodigious career including;

  • The Geometric series (1972-onwards)
  • Skyspace series (1980-1984)
  • The Nature of painting series (1980s-90s)
  • New York and Australia (1990s onwards)

About the artist
Born in Brisbane, Virginia Cuppaidge studied in Sydney with Desiderius Orban, Stanislaus Rapotec, Marea Gazzard, John Olsen and Robert Klippel before moving to New York in 1969 to ‘see the best abstract art going on at the time and live in the art museums.’

Although Cuppaidge lived in New York for more than forty years, she came to the realisation that her abstract work is routed in her Australian experience – she believes the Australian landscape is in her system.

Cuppaidge’s exhibiting career has traversed the American, Canadian and Australian art scenes, with thirty seven solo exhibitions and numerous public commissions and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1976.

Cuppaidge has exhibited in USA and Australia. Galleries include: Stella Downer Fine Art – Sydney, Rosenberg + Kaufman Fine Arts – New York, Robin Gibson Gallery – Sydney, Gallery A – Sydney, AM Sachs Gallery – New York, Bloomfield Galleries – Sydney, Susan Caldwell Gallery – New York. She has also had a lively teaching career and was adjunct associate professor of art at C.U.N.Y, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and Bronx Community College, 1992–2008.

Since early 2017, Virginia lives in Australia, and is currently writing "The New York Stories". An account of arriving in New York in 1969, meeting up with Australian sculptor Clement Meadmore, adapting to the huge metropolis, working at the Max Hutchinson Gallery in SoHo, and surviving as an artist in New York City for five decades.

Related Documents:
VIRGINIA CUPPAIDGE: the nature of abstraction 6 page catalogue.

Banner image: Virginia CUPPAIDGE Valoniah 1979 acrylic on canvas 198.0 x 305.0cm Purchased 1980 Newcastle Art Gallery collection Courtesy the artist

Virginia CUPPAIDGE Saix 1974 acrylic on canvas 114.0 x 198.0cm Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Virginia Cuppaidge 2017 Newcastle Art Gallery collection Courtesy the artist


  • Exhibition entry FREE



Newcastle Art Gallery
1 Laman Street
Cooks Hill