A Generous Gift for the Gallery & Museum
The Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum launched the latest exhibition The Ruby Campbell Collection Exhibition on April 11. It was a very special event with guest speakers and a generous offering from the Campbell family. Direct descendant relatives had stored many of Campbell's finest and most diverse works since her passing in 1977. At the exhibition's opening these family members officially gifted the display, through the Federal Government's Cultural Gifts Program, to the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum's permanent collection. With over ninety works by Ruby Campbell and eight by contemporary artists including Lionel Lindsay, this is an impressive acquirement for the Gallery & Museum.
The Gallery & Museum have hosted Campbell's work on at least two occasions prior to this exhibition, however sadly never while she was alive. Her only exhibition was held at the Rockhampton Art Gallery in 1972, five years before her death. This will remain open at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum until May 10 before being archived in the permanent collection.
The Ruby Campbell Collection Exhibition is both an art and history exhibition as it features drawings and paintings of Kilburnie Station during the early part of last century. It also salutes the drive and tenacity of those such as Campbell to fulfil their goals despite the remoteness of Kilburnie in pre Biloela days. Although geographically remote, Campbell embarked on her art studies through active letter writing, subscriptions to international art journals and undertook a Michigan USA correspondence course. Some of this material is included within the exhibition.
The exhibition also features watercolours, etchings and drawings; most portray the everyday life and scenery at Kilburnie. Ruby Campbell was born on the property in 1888 and except for a few months at Art College in Melbourne in 1920, spent her entire life there. Somehow, whilst assisting in the running of a most successful cattle property, she found time to draw, paint and prepare a series of etchings, an amazing feat considering that she had no etching press and her mentor John Shirlow was in Melbourne. His students printed Ruby’s plates while he wrote chatty letters full of constructive criticism to her which have been included in the exhibition and donation. Three ornate wood carved furniture pieces also appear within the display that Campbell built and decorated. Despite the briefness of her formal studies Campbell was obviously an exceptionally assiduous and diligent artist.
"We are very grateful to Ruby Campbell's family for this substantial and generous gift. With correct conservation and storage, now generations to come can visit and enjoy seeing this incredible local women's fabulous work." Gallery & Museum Curator, Jo Duke said.
The Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum is located on the corner of Goondoon & Bramston Streets, Gladstone. It is open 10am-5pm, Monday to Saturday with FREE admission. The Gallery & Museum will be open ANZAC Day.