Boss Drovers Exhibition unveiled at Dogwood Crossing

Boss Drovers exhibition draws good opening crowd


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Australian artist Robert MacPherson's Boss Drovers on exhibition.

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Roz and Campbell Brownlie with Boss Drover Bill Little and his children Cardea and William. Picture Helen Walker

Roz and Campbell Brownlie with Boss Drover Bill Little and his children Cardea and William. Picture Helen Walker

Droving enthusiasts on the Western Downs had a first hand opportunity to view and experience part of a major artwork by leading Australian artist Robert MacPherson with the tour of the Queensland Art Gallery’s ‘Gallery of Modern Art’ Boss Drovers exhibition. 

The Boss Drovers exhibition was officially opened at the John Mullins Memorial Art Gallery at Dogwood Crossing, Miles, last Friday evening before a crowd of 150 guests.

Guests were treated to a insight of what life on the road is life in the long paddock, with Boss Drover, Bill Little, Roma, the guest speaker. 

Mr Little, arguably the best drover of modern times, spoke candidly about his life on the road, including his famous Brinkworth epic droving trip walking 18,000 cattle from Winton to Hay, in southern NSW in 2013.

Bill Little speaks about life in long paddock at the opening of the Boss Drovers exhibition. Picture Helen Walker

Bill Little speaks about life in long paddock at the opening of the Boss Drovers exhibition. Picture Helen Walker

Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art director Chris Saines said  the Boss Drovers exhibition was an installation of 200 drawings derived from the 2400 that make up a major work created by Robert MacPherson over two decades .  

“We are delighted to be touring an extract of the major collection work to audiences throughout the state along with a digital interactive that encourages visitors to make a more thorough investigation of the artwork, Mr Saines said. 

“From 2019 through to 2021, Boss Drovers will tour to 12 Queensland venues throughout Queensland, reaching audiences in Mackay, Townsville, Gympie, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Mt Isa and beyond. 

“Each individual paper-sheet within the installation features a portrait and the name of a boss drover who was responsible for moving livestock and teams of stockmen along the great pastoral stock routes of Australia.” 

Robert MacPherson’s collected pages reveal poetic markers of places and people whose identities and life in the country are in danger of fading from view. The droving occupation itself is now almost a relic, as generations of horse-riding ringers are replaced by trucks on our highways, and families move off the land.

The artwork captures several aspects of Robert MacPherson’s multi-layered practice - his playful approach to ‘traditional’ aspects of art, such as landscape, portraiture, and his subversive take on the idea of the artist’s identity and signature. 

Robert MacPherson was born in 1937 and is a much-celebrated Australian contemporary artist, renowned for apparently simple works that gently unfold to reveal something more complex.

His practice frequently explores overlooked aspects of his subject matter, allowing viewers to gain a more nuanced understanding of the circumstances surrounding a particular situation. 

He made the drawings for Boss Drovers in the guise of his alter ego, Robert Pene, a Year 4 student at St Joseph’s Convent in Nambour, Queensland. 

Boss Drovers will tour the following venues

Dogwood Crossing, Miles | 19 January – 2 March 2019

Logan Art Gallery | 9 March – 27 April 2019

Artspace Mackay | 4 May – 7 July 2019

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville | 13 July – 1 September 2019

Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery | 19 October – 1 December 2019

Redland Art Gallery | 8 December 2019 – 26 January 2020

Gympie Regional Gallery | 18 March – 24 April 2020

Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery | 2 May – 21 June 2020

Caboolture Regional Art Gallery | 18 July – 5 September 2020

Warwick Art Gallery | 12 September – 24 October 2020

Hervey Bay Regional Gallery | 31 October – 13 December 2020

Mount Isa Regional Art Gallery | 9 January – 7 March 2021

For more information on ‘Boss Drovers’ visit www.qagoma.qld.gov.au 

The story Boss Drovers Exhibition unveiled at Dogwood Crossing first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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