Ann Newmarch (born 1945) is an esteemed South Australian artist and educator. She trained in both fields during the 1960s leading to a long-held lecturing post at the South Australian School of Art, and an expansive and internationally celebrated career as a painter, printmaker and sculptor. Raised in a strict Methodist household where art was deemed ‘corruptive’1, Newmarch defied her parents in following this path and developed a politically charged practice in both teaching and making.
As well as feminism and feminist issues which were key concerns in her earliest prints and paintings, Newmarch used the print medium to great effect throughout the 1970s and 1980s to rail against the Vietnam War, American imperialism, uranium mining and the inequitable treatment of Aboriginal people in white Australia. During this period, she co-founded the Progressive Art Movement (PAM) and Women’s Art Movement (WAM) fostering the collective production of political prints and posters, and she famously refused to exhibit in commercial galleries, turning away from the ‘male dominated and profit-driven’ arts industry.2
In adopting this stance Newmarch contributed to many community arts projects, and notably in 1986 partook in a cultural exchange program sponsored by the Australia-China Council to create two large murals in Xianyang, Shaanxi Province, China. Created with fellow Australian artist Anne Morris and four artists in China these murals addressed the theme of friendship between the nations3 – a project hard to envisage in today’s political climate. In 1997 the artist was given a major retrospective by the Art Gallery of South Australia and in 2019 a gallery was named in her honour in the City of Prospect where she lives.
FUMA is custodian of 50 works by Ann Newmarch, many of which entered the collection through donations by the former Australian Experimental Art Foundation and her artist peers Kate Millington and Mandy Martin. The five works featured here from 1967 – 2009 nod to the trajectory of a 50-year career and the socio-political concerns that have shaped it.
A small survey of the artist’s work will be on display at the Newmarch Gallery from 12 December 2020 to 25 January 2021.