1. Untitled, 1990, Coloured pencil on paper, 40 x 121 cm, Latrobe Regional Gallery Collection, purchased with assistance of the Australia Council, 1993.
2. Spill with sack, 1990, Coloured pencil on paper, 29 x 40 cm, Latrobe Regional Gallery Collection, purchased 1995.
A contemporary Australian artist specialising in drawing and painting, Caroline Durre creates works of highly ornamental patterns derived from European architecture, landscaping and richly adorned fabrics. She often works at a large scale, creating visually puzzling and exciting paintings. The geometric and optical style of her work plays with perspective and combines both organic and architectural motifs.
Before living in Melbourne, Durre spent some time living and working in Gippsland. She taught at the Gippsland School of Art in 1992 and 1993, where she also completed a Master of Arts in 1996. Preceding her bold optical paintings exploring decorative design and dimensionality, abstract patterning and perspective were approached differently. Like many artists in Gippsland, the industry of the Latrobe Valley was a point of response in her practice.
Durre’s drawings of this time draw on the compelling scale and complexities of the factories, in particular the Yallourn Power Station and the APM Maryvale Mill. In Untitled (1990), the entanglement of pipes, ramps, platforms, machinery with the structures of the factories is depicted as a bewildering dreamscape to one who is not familiar with the internal framework of these stations. Like the clouds that sit unusually low in the valley, cloud-like forms drift through the centre of the image, dividing it into two. Mirroring and symmetry, used in the artist’s current practice, can be observed in some sections of this drawing. In finding the symmetries, the differences and details become further pronounced, drawing the viewer into the maze of the industry ecosystem.
Caroline Durre has also been a lecturer in printmaking at Monash University’s Faculty of Art & Design, where she has also supervised Masters and PhD degree students. Durre’s work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and other state, regional, corporate and private collections.