Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery has reopened with MPRG: FIFTY – a large-scale exhibition that highlights the development and growth of its significant collection.
Founded in 1969 by Alan McCulloch, the Mornington Peninsula Arts Centre, as it was then known, acquired its first artwork in 1970. Over the past 50 years the Collection has grown to include over 1800 objects, including paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures.
A strength of the MPRG Collection is the focus on the cultural heritage of the Mornington Peninsula, which has been a haven and source of inspiration for artists since the 1850s, including Fred Williams, Albert Tucker and Arthur Boyd.
Many of Australia’s best known artists have captured the region’s unique scenery and lifestyle and these works now form a valuable part of the Collection. A series of new collection rooms will take visitors on a journey through historical and contemporary representations of the Mornington Peninsula.
The MPRG Collection is also renowned for its specialist holdings of contemporary Australian works on paper acquired from acquisitive prizes (Spring Festival of Drawing 1973-97, Prints Acquisitive 1974-96 and National Works on Paper 1998-present). This collection continues to grow and documents and celebrates the diversity and experimentation of this medium.
MPRG: FIFTY breaks down traditional hierarchies by creating a kaleidoscope of colour with the greatest number of works from the Collection ever on display together. The show inspires fresh connections, accidental intersections and a new understanding and appreciation for this remarkable and evolving collection.
Focus displays will explore Australian women printmakers from the late 1970s and early 1980s along with a series of works that ruminate on the repetitive nature of automatic drawing and stream of consciousness narratives.
MPRG: FIFTY features over 100 artworks including much loved favourites like eX de Medici’s Red (Colony) 2000, Arthur Boyd’s iconic Mt Martha from Rosebud Beach 1938, Lisa Roet’s giant primate finger Orang-utan Index 2001-03 and Locust Jones’ epic Geronimo 2011.
Other artists include Margaret Preston, Tom Roberts, Ian Fairweather, Charles Blackman, Russell Drysdale, Fred Williams, Brett Whiteley, Jenny Watson, Richard Lewer, John Nixon, Jennifer Mills, Jon Campbell, Jan Sengbergs, Margaret Preston, Euan Macleod, Lisa Waup, Fiona McMonagle, Dorothy Braund, Brent Harris, John Brack, Rick Amor, Gloria Petyarre, Gareth Sansom, Danie Mellor, Vernon Ah Kee and Jess Johnson among others.
MPRG has also produced a 50th anniversary collection publication featuring two key historical essays by Susan McCulloch OAM, Adjunct Professor, College of Design & Social Context, RMIT and daughter of founding Director Alan McCulloch and former MPRG Senior Curator, Rodney James. The publication features over 70 works with statements written by current staff, former staff and artists represented in the collection.
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Civic Reserve, Dunns Road, Mornington
Exhibition continues to 22 November 2020
Free entry – bookings essential
For more information, visit: www.mprg.mornpen.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: eX de Medici, Red (Colony) 2000 (detail), watercolour on paper, Winner of National Works on Paper, purchased by Beleura – The Tallis Foundation, 2002