Variously described as a dancer, a gypsy and the “Witch of Positano”, Maitland Regional Art Gallery will celebrate the art and life of Australian born artist Vali Myers with the first major survey in the exhibition Between the Dusk and Dawn.
Beginning her career as a modern ballet dancer in Melbourne, Myers’ artistic inclinations began to shift when at twenty she moved to the Left Bank of Paris and began drawing small-scale autobiographical works depicting her life experiences in Post War Europe. In 1958 she fled Paris and set up a home in the isolated canyon of Il Porto on the outskirts of Positano, Italy. Here, among her vast family of animals, she lived as a semi recluse, honing her repertoire of self-portraiture and using her own image and that of animals and totems to explore complex themes of identity, gender, mythology, religion and pain and suffering. In a career spanning half a century and an oeuvre totalling approximately 130 brightly coloured pen and ink miniature works, Myers harnessed ideas and influences found among the pages of her favourite books as well as from a select group of artists from whom she drew inspiration for her distinctive self–styled compositions. Her richly allegorical drawings move beyond the autobiographical to explore universal humanistic themes.
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