Figure on a Sandstone Ground: Considering Brett Whiteley’s Rock Art

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In the summer of 1970, internationally-acclaimed Australian artist Brett Whiteley travelled with his wife Wendy, their daughter Arkie, and a few of their artist friends to the Goulburn River near Mudgee in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales. During their short stay in the bush, Whiteley spent time drawing and painting, and it was at this time that he applied his brush to the walls of a sandstone overhang. In recent years, Whiteley’s paintings were rediscovered and for the most part remain visible today (Figure 1). Despite an increasing acknowledgement of Whiteley’s importance within the Australian art canon, and the documented significance of his rock paintings to the cultural heritage of the local area,1 it is intriguing that neither art nor archaeology scholars have given these paintings serious contemplation.2
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168–188
Number of pages21
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Art
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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