5 Favourites with Gemma Leslie

Gemma Leslie is an Australian artist, illustrator, designer, and founder of Food For Everyone, based in Melbourne. Her work is largely inspired by the simple pleasures of everyday homescapes, with a particular focus on food. Working primarily in paint mediums, her style is imbued with playful simplicity, characterised by organic silhouettes, vibrant colour, and naïve still-life scenes.

Ahead of our auction, Sidney Nolan: Narratives & the Natural World, we asked Gemma to pick her five favourite works from the collection.

Sidney Nolan. Leonard Joel Auctions
SIDNEY NOLAN (1917-1992)
Greek Warriors, Horses and Shield c.1955
mixed media and collage on paper
$1,500-2,500
© The Sidney Nolan Trust. All rights reserved. DACS/Copyright Agency, 2024

 

1. Lot 177, Greek Warriors, Horses and Shield. I am feeling a lot of escapism when I look at this painting. In 1955, Nolan visited the Greek islands. I can see him sitting on the rocks, sketching these Greek warriors. The abstraction and movement of the human figures suggest that there was some sort of gathering by the sea. The vibrancy of the blue and the organic brush strokes of the figures gives a feeling of freedom.

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Sidney Nolan. Leonard Joel Auctions
SIDNEY NOLAN (1917-1992)
Dimboola, Wimmera 1942
pastel with water added, on paper
$3,000-5,000
© The Sidney Nolan Trust. All rights reserved. DACS/Copyright Agency, 2024

 

2. Lot 64, Dimboola, Wimmera. This painting stands out to me as one of Nolan’s iconic Australian landscapes. His work in this category truly depicts the ‘feeling of’ a place in time here in Australia. I love the mark-making here; it feels very soft, and the colour is so vibrant. I can imagine myself being there, squinting my eyes… taken to a warmer place.

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Sidney Nolan. Leonard Joel Auctions
SIDNEY NOLAN (1917-1992)
Abstract c.1939
monotype on paper
$1,000-1,500
© The Sidney Nolan Trust. All rights reserved. DACS/Copyright Agency, 2024

 

3. Lot 15, Abstract. This work feels so iconic to the beginnings of Nolan’s career. In 1939, he gave up his job to pursue his artistic journey. I can feel Nolan’s excitement in this painting; the colours are ambitious and bright, reflective of the Bauhaus era. The work is playful with anticipation of what lies ahead for his artistic career.

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Sidney Nolan. Leonard Joel Auctions
SIDNEY NOLAN (1917-1992)
Woman Algerian Tent 1962
mixed media on paper
$2,500-3,500
© The Sidney Nolan Trust. All rights reserved. DACS/Copyright Agency, 2024

 

4. Lot 148, Woman Algerian Tent. I love this piece for its simplicity of colour and movement, yet I feel that it is telling such an important story. The land represented in green and the tent represented in white perhaps depict someone he knew, most probably displaced. The movement of the mark-making really depicts the nature of the material of the tent – loose and unstructured.

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Sidney Nolan. Leonard Joel Auctions
SIDNEY NOLAN (1917-1992)
Weeping Head and Stars, Icare c.1940
transfer drawing on paper
$2,000-4,000
© The Sidney Nolan Trust. All rights reserved. DACS/Copyright Agency, 2024

 

5. Lot 72, Weeping Head and Stars, Icare. I absolutely love this piece. It’s a superb example of Nolan’s abstract work. The painting has real energy about it. I love that you can just make out the face of the woman amongst the stars. While the painting is titled ‘Weeping Head and Stars,’ it’s beautifully endearing. I’d love to have her on my wall!

Thank you to Gemma for her time! See more at gemleslie.com and follow her on Instagram @gemleslie

Sidney Nolan – Narratives & the Natural World will take place in Sydney on 19 February 2024. View the full catalogue here. 

Banner Image: Gemma Leslie

February 2024

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