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Brett Whiteley Studio

The space in which one of Australia's most acclaimed artists produced some of his best works.
By Annie Murney
November 29, 2016
By Annie Murney
November 29, 2016

Surry Hills was a very different place in 1985. The grime was starting to wash away and a shiny new cosmopolitan suburb was taking shape. And it was here that a young Brett Whiteley purchased a humble warehouse just off Crown Street and converted it into a studio, where he lived and worked until his death in 1992.

Two decades on, the Brett Whiteley Studio continues to be a much-loved part of Sydney's art scene. Alongside exhibitions that showcase the artist's best work, the preservation of his studio and living area provides fascinating insights into his personal and professional life.

Having spent his early years on Sydney's leafy North Shore and attending boarding school in Bathurst, Whitely had a strong affinity to natural landscapes. From treacherous bushland to sparkling seascapes, he crafted a unique view of Australia's moody countryside and its flora and fauna. There is a deep sensuality that marks Whiteley's style. His characteristic use of line is pervasive, continually seen in rolling hills, tumbling waves and curvaceous rock formations.

Although his work is rooted in an Australian identity, it also represents a montage of global influences, reminiscent of the extensive time Whiteley spent abroad. For example, there is a prominent Asian aesthetic of perspective that infiltrates his landscapes (he was captivated by Chinese and Japanese art and Japonism).

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