Selected Works From the Artist’s Studio

Geoff Dyer (1947-2020)


DESPARD GALLERY

Level 1/15 Castray Esplanade, Battery Point

10 March, 2021 @5.30pm




Despard Gallery is proud to present a survey exhibition of studio works by Geoff Dyer.

Geoff Dyer (1947- 2020) will remain firmly etched into Tasmania’s cultural history as one of our most celebrated contemporary painters. His artistic legacy continues to live on through his work.


Throughout his fifty-year career as an artist, Geoff lived to paint, happiest in the chaos of his studio surrounded by a plethora of spent paint tubes, discarded rags and remnants of past endeavours.  His significant artistic achievements reflect this determination and passion, compelled to capture the Tasmanian landscape in paint and exhibit work to his many friends and followers.  His evocative oils capturing the imagination, complexity and raw beauty that underpins the Tasmanian landscape experience.  

Geoff first exhibited with Despard Gallery in 1999.  Over the next twenty-one years held eleven solo shows at the gallery, as well as exhibiting his works in numerous art fairs across Australia the US and China.

Selected Works From The Artist’s Studio’ represents an exhibition that had been planned with Geoff over the past 12 months.  His deteriorating health remained a constant frustration, limiting his physical ability to paint the large oils he loved. The gallery is honoured to host this modest scale, but poignant survey of early and recent works, including his last studio paintings. This will consist of sixteen major oils, a suite of smaller studies, as well as a small selection of works on paper, painted plein air from Dolphin Sands on the East Coast. 

As observed by John McDonald, art critic for the Sydney Morning Herald, Geoff’s work was in constant flux between abstraction and figuration, painting techniques ranging between subtle translucent layers and thickly carved impasto textures. Geoff had a unique capacity to evoke light through paint, capturing a sense of atmosphere and charging each work with his unmistakable strength and intensity.  Key to each interpretation was the overall pallet .  For this exhibition we have simplified the selection based on his favoured colours; red, blue and green. 

The fierce reds with Geoff’s fire paintings and the raw abstractions; the thick heavy blues – including the powerful seascapes inspired by Ocean Beach and the restful greens, capturing the coolness of the bush around the King River and D’Entrecasteaux Creek.

Geoff regularly returned to these favoured locations for inspiration, represented in this selection of works.  Clearly demonstrated through this exhibition is how Geoff recognised that the Tasmanian landscape could ‘be a vehicle for strong feelings’ and how painting could be a powerful instrument in sharing ‘those feelings in a way that can remain impersonal and, indeed, universal.’


Above: Geoff Dyer, Cockle Creek I, 2019, oil on linen.

Above: Geoff Dyer, Fire, 2020, oil on linen.

Above: Geoff Dyer, Ocean Beach, 2020, oil on linen.

Above: Geoff Dyer, Tasmanian Summer III, 2019, oil on linen.


As observed by John McDonald, art critic for the Sydney Morning Herald, Geoff’s work was in constant flux between abstraction and figuration, painting techniques ranging between subtle translucent layers and thickly carved impasto textures. Geoff had a unique capacity to evoke light through paint, capturing a sense of atmosphere and charging each work with his unmistakable strength and intensity.  Key to each interpretation was the overall pallet .  For this exhibition we have simplified the selection based on his favoured colours; red, blue and green. 

The fierce reds with Geoff’s fire paintings and the raw abstractions; the thick heavy blues – including the powerful seascapes inspired by Ocean Beach and the restful greens, capturing the coolness of the bush around the King River and D’Entrecasteaux Creek.

Geoff regularly returned to these favoured locations for inspiration, represented in this selection of works.  Clearly demonstrated through this exhibition is how Geoff recognised that the Tasmanian landscape could ‘be a vehicle for strong feelings’ and how painting could be a powerful instrument in sharing ‘those feelings in a way that can remain impersonal and, indeed, universal.’



Geoff Dyer (1947-2020) had a highly celebrated professional career spanning over fifty years, with countless solo exhibition nationally, as well as exhibitions in Singapore, Guangdong and New York.  Born in Hobart, Geoff graduated from the Tasmania School of Art in 1968.  He begun exhibiting soon after, balancing his time between the studio and teaching art, firstly on King Island, then Launceston School of Art and later at Burnie Technical College.  In 1980, Geoff begun painting fulltime, spending the next twenty years travelling regularly between Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. 

His work is held in numerous important collections including the National Portrait Gallery, Artbank, the University of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).  Geoff was hung in the New South Wales Art Gallery over twenty times as a finalist in the Archibald prize (1993, 1996, 1999 -2004, 2006 and 2011), Wynne Prize (1977, 1988–1993, 1998, 2004) and Sulman Prize (1997, 2006).  Geoff became an Archibald finalist for the first time in 1993 with a portrait of environmentalist and Federal Green’s leader, Bob Brown.  His last portrait, included a portrait of David Walsh, founder of MONA.  Most notably, Geoff won the Archibald Prize in 2003 with a portrait of writer, conservationist and friend, Richard Flanagan.

Please contact the gallery for more information and a full catalogue of works.

Above: Geoff Dyer in his studio

Exhibition opening:

Wednesday March 10 @5.30pm

Exhibition runs:

10 March- 3 April, 2021

Please visit:

www.despard-gallery.com.au