As an artist, Shirley Macnamara draws inspiration from her beloved bush country in far west Queensland. She uses natural materials to create objects such as guutu (vessels), baskets and large installations that reflect forms in nature. Macnamara works mostly with Spinifex, a native grass that grows in abundance throughout remote Australia, which she weaves to create objects and sculptures that reflect her environment, and their association with climate, earth, and life, past and present. She uses natural materials that embody strength and utility; to the artist, Spinifex signifies the resilience of her people, as well as shaping her local landscape. Her Spinifex creations are often drawn from personal experience and memories.
Shirley Macnamara was invited to display her stunning Spinifex work Wingreeguu at 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at Gallery of Modern Art/Queensland Art Gallery in 2012. Established in 1993, The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) is the only major exhibition series in the world to focus exclusively on the contemporary art of Asia, the Pacific and Australia.
In 2013, Alcaston Gallery was proud to present Macnamara’s first solo exhibition titled Grounded. The exhibition showcased new sculptures in Spinifex and other naturally found and organic materials. In October 2014, Macnamara held her second solo exhibition at Alcaston Gallery titled Race Against Time.
In 2014 and 2015, Shirley Macnamara’s stunning fibre sculptures are on exhibition as part of Terrain: Indigenous Australian Objects and Representations at the Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland. The exhibition examines the way in which Australian Indigenous artists are culturally and aesthetically influenced by the land and its natural features.
In 2015 Shirley Macnamara was a finalist in the 32nd Telstra National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, and her sculpture was acquired by the Australian War Memorial collection.
The artist’s work 'Memoir' is featured in the exhibition 'For Country: for Nation' at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, from 22 September 2016 – 27 September 2017, an important exhibition that shares the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions to the Australian Defence Forces.
In March 2017 Macnamara held her third solo exhibition at Alcaston Gallery, titled Maardi Butala, a new body of woven sculptural objects utilising materials sourced from the artist’s country which draw upon issues of environment, history, politics, culture, and family.
Shirley Macnamara’s artworks have been collected by public institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown, the University of Queensland Anthropology Museum, Brisbane, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, and Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns.
© The Artist & Alcaston Gallery, 2017
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2013 Grounded, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2014 Race Against Time, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2017 Maardi Butala, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Selected Group Exhibitions
2009 Floating Life: Contemporary Aboriginal Fibre Art, Gallery of Modern Art/Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
2012 Fascinator, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
2012 Where the Art Leads: New Explorations by Queensland Indigenous Artists – 2012 CIAF Exhibition, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
2012 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Gallery of Modern Art/Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
2014/15 Terrain: Indigenous Australian Objects and Representations, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
2015/16 ARTNOW: Far North Queensland, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
2015 All About Art: Brisbane, Alcaston Gallery Annual Collector's exhibition at White Canvas Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland
2016 Provenance Does Matter - The Collectors' Exhibition, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2017 For Country: for Nation, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
2017 The Extractive Frontier: Mining for Art, Castlemaine State Festival, Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia
2017 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, represented by Alcaston Gallery, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
2014 Finalist, Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award 2014
2015 Finalist, Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award 2015
2015 Finalist, 32nd Telstra National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Art Awards 2015
2016 Finalist, 33rd Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards
2017 Finalist, 34th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards
2017 Highly Commended, Innovation Art Award, CIAF 2017
For an extended CV, please contact Alcaston Gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org