13 July 2006

The University of Queensland Art Museum is presenting the major national touring exhibition Encounters with country: landscapes of Ray Crooke from August 12 until October 1.

The exhibition, to be displayed at the James and Mary Emelia Mayne Centre at University Drive, UQ St Lucia, is organised by the Cairns Regional Gallery and curated by guest curator Gavin Wilson.

Encounters with country: landscapes of Ray Crooke presents an in-depth focus on the Australian landscape paintings of Ray Cooke (b. 1922).

While Crooke is widely known and highly regarded for his paintings of island life in the Torres Strait, and the islands of Fiji, this remainsan incomplete picture of this artist`s oeuvre. Equal to his finest
island paintings are Crooke`s landscape studies of the remote gulf country of Far North Queensland.

It takes time, often decades to absorb something of the essence of a place. Purged of romantic reveries Crooke`s landscape paintings have evolved from a disciplined distillation of observed fact. In the dry,
rugged scrub country of Cape York, in places such as Laura, the Palmer River, and the mining towns of Chillagoe and Normanton, Crooke has imbibed the distinct landforms, structures, vegetation and climate to
create works steeped in an authority only gained from a complete immersion in the light and atmosphere of a place.

Remote Victorian, Western Australian and New South Wales landscapes have also been significant places of visual exploration for this artist and will feature in the exhibition that brings together paintings created
since 1950.

Encounters with country: landscapes of Ray Crooke will explore and celebrate Crooke`s lasting achievement in the gulf country of Australia`s far north, a country not much known, let alone seen by
audiences outside this vast and remote region. The exhibition will present studies of the old gold mining town of Hill End in New South Wales made following a recent residence at Hill End, and new paintings
from sketches made decades ago of Chillagoe and Cape York country.

Over 50 paintings have been secured from 22 generous lenders including the artist, national state and regional, galleries, universities, corporate and private collections from across Australia. The research
and development of this landscape exhibition has inspired Ray Crooke to take a fresh look at this unique country. It also builds significantlyon the observations of James Gleeson in his publication Ray Crooke, 1972
and Sue Smith in the retrospective exhibition and publication titled North of Capricorn: the art of Ray Crooke that toured to 8 venues 1998/1999.

Encounters with country: landscapes of Ray Crooke has received funding assistance from the Australian Government`s Visions of Australia Exhibition Touring Program, Arts Queensland, and Cairns City Council. A
quality full colour catalogue accompanies the exhibition funded by the Gordon Darling Foundation and Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane with generous support from Ray Crooke and Philip Bacon.

Encounters with country: landscapes of Ray Crooke will be on display
12 August - 1 October 2006 :
Tuesday - Sunday 10 - 4 pm Free parking on weekends

University Art Museum
The Mayne Centre
The University of Queensland
University Drive. www.maynecentre.uq.edu.au

Media: Please contact Peter Liddy for any further information, telephone 07 3365 3046.