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The Australian National University

Ruth Waller

Head of Painting Workshop
Location: Painting Workshop, School of Art, Blg 105
Phone: +61 (2) 6125 5827

Ruth Waller grew up in Sydney and studied at Alexander Mackie CAE in the seventies. She has taught painting at ANU since 1990 and has been Head of Painting since 2006. She has exhibited with Watters Gallery, Sydney since 1981 and is represented by Helen Maxwell in Canberra. In 2009 she was awarded ANU Vice Chancellor’s Award for Supervision. The Canberra Museum & Gallery featured a thirty-year survey of her work in 2010.


Solo exhibitions

2014 All that is solid, Nancy Sever Gallery, Canberra

Mineral, Watters Gallery, Sydney

2012 Paintings 2011-12, Watters Gallery, Sydney

2010 twenty-ten (recent paintings), Watters Gallery, Sydney

Ruth Waller, a thirty year survey, Maitland Regional Gallery, NSW and Canberra Museum and Gallery

2009 (painting), Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra

2008 The new paintings, Watters Gallery, Sydney

2007 Slime moulds…hotel suite: some paintings from the 90s, Watters Gallery, Sydney

2006 Garbage Suite, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra

2005 Paintings after lamentations from the low countries, Watters Gallery, Sydney

2003 Recent work, Watters Gallery, Sydney

2001 Sackbutts and crumhorns, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

2000 Painting, Watters Gallery, Sydney

1998 Adventures in misadventure, Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney University

1996-7 Paintings, Watters Gallery Sydney and AGOG Gallery, Canberra

1996 Another room, another bed, Watters Gallery, Sydney

1995 Another room, another bed, Canberra Contemporary Art Space

1994 E11 North - The Hospital Paintings, Watters Gallery, Sydney

1993 Deep Time in a Brand New Kitchen - Works on paper, Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre

1992 Slime Moulds and Other Lives, AGOG Gallery, Canberra

1991 UnNatural History Paintings, Watters Gallery, Sydney

1989 Landscapes of Loss, Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney

1988 Colony, Watters Gallery, Sydney

1985-86 House About Wollongong, Wollongong City Gallery, NSW       

1985 Hibakusha/Disappeared, Watters Gallery, Sydney

1982 -83 Remote Control, Adelaide CAS, Trades Hall Gallery, Melbourne; Artspace Sydney

1982 Drawing & Posters, Watters Gallery, Sydney

1981 Remote Control, montage and posters, Watters Gallery, Sydney

Group exhibitions

2015 Encounter & Immersion: a dual exhibition by Denise Ferris & Ruth Waller, Yo-Chang Arts Museum, National Taiwan University of Arts

2014 Monuments to the Frontier Wars, Damien Minton Gallery, Sydney

2013-2014 Insight Radical, touring RiAus FutureSpace Gallery, The Science Exchange,             Adelaide, Mclemoi Gallery, Sydney, Insight Radical, Griffin Gallery, London, UK

2013 Intensity of purpose, Canberra Museum and Gallery

2012 Theatre of the World, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart

Word of Mouth: encounters with abstract art, Canberra Museum & Gallery

2011 A Gleam of Light, M16 Gallery, Canberra

2x4 @ M16, M16 Gallery, Canberra

Imitation of life, Canberra Museum and Gallery

2010 Kedumba Drawing Award exhibition, Wentworth Falls, NSW

2009 Making it new - focus on Australian contemporary art, MCA, Sydney

2007 Artists as Social Commentators, Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney

Myself by myself, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra

Recent acquisitions, Canberra Museum and Gallery

2006 Someone shows something to someone, Canberra Contemporary Art Space

2005 The Body, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

2004 Point to Line and Plane, Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney University

2003 Big Art, small viewer, University of Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Collaborations Canberra School of Art Gallery

2001 Coincidence, Spiral Arm Gallery, Canberra

1999 Natural Disasters, Monash University Gallery, Melbourne

1998 The Kedumba Drawing Award Exhibition, Leura, NSW

1997 The McCaughey Prize Exhibition, National Gallery of Victoria

1995 Recent Acquisitions, Queensland Art Gallery

1995 Women in the collection, National Gallery of Australia

1993-4 Identities- Art from Australia, Taipei Fine Arts Museum

1992 Medium Density- recent acquisitions, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

1990 Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art, Art  Gallery of South Australia


2015 Australia Council International Residency, HIAP studios, Helsinki, Finland

2000 Australia Council Visual Arts Board Studio Residency, Barcelona studio, Spain

1989 Australia Council Visual Arts Board Studio Residency, Verdaccio studio, Italy


2009 ANU Vice Chancellor’s Award for Supervision

2008 ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences Award for Supervision

2000 MA Visual (Art Theory), ANU School of Art

1978 Diploma of Art, Alexander Mackie CAE School of Art

Research Interests

 My M.Phil thesis Miraculous scenes from the altarpieces of Siena and Florence of C14th & C15th (1999) reflected a long-term interest in the pre-Renaissance approach to pictorial space and composition. Since then, my painting practice has continued to explore ways of drawing on aspects of the early history of Western painting in developing paintings which reflect contemporary experience and questions of perception, optics and the relations between mind and body in the creative process.

In considering painting as a form of speculative research, I am concerned to highlight the material and perceptual specificity of the conditions of painting, both for the maker and the viewer. 

The paintings in my recent show Mineral grew out of a number of everyday visual pleasures: a collection of small rocks picked up the bush, plants my backyard garden, the landforms of the Blue Mountains, mornings spent amongst the eucalyptus in the Canberra Botanic Gardens, and the pleasures of painting itself, of Bellini, El Greco, Gauguin, of Romanesque frescoes and Indian miniatures.


Exhibition catalogues

‘This Way Up: an exhibition series of recent abstract painting’, ANU School of Art, 2010

‘Picture this: ANU School of Art Alumni 2000-6’, ANU School of Art, 2006 

‘Gone tomorrow: works by Peter Maloney’, Canberra Museum and Gallery, 2005

‘Snap: Painting showcase exhibition’, ANU School of Art, 2002


National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

Wollongong City Gallery, NSW

Art Gallery of Queensland, Brisbane

New England Regional Art Museum, NSW

Ballarat City Gallery, VIC

Griffith University Gallery, Brisbane

Warnambool Regional Gallery, VIC

Lake Macquarie Regional Gallery, NSW

Maitland Regional Gallery, NSW

University of Queensland Collection, Brisbane

University of Canberra Collection

Sydney University Student Union Collection

Gold Coast Regional Art Gallery

Canberra School of Art Collection

Updated: 17 August 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Head of Office / Page Contact:  Web Publisher