Aug 25 2008
Rosemary Madigan was born in Adelaide. After studying sculpture at the South Australian School of Art, she later trained at the East Sydney Technical College under Lyndon Dadswell. In 1950 Madigan won the New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship, which led to studies in Europe and India. On her return to Adelaide in 1953, she spent some years teaching pottery, drawing and sculpture. In 1973 Madigan again moved to Sydney, and in 1986 she won the Wynne Prize with a sandstone female torso. Since her first experience with an automatic drill – carving a stone female form in London in 1952 – the female torso has been the focus of much of Madigan’s work. It is only in the last decades that these compact and subtle torsos have come to greater public prominence. She should also be better known as the creator of a number of the most compelling religious sculptures executed in Australia, for instance The Yellow Christ (1968). An independent thinker, Madigan’s interests since her student years have placed her somewhat outside the mainstream of Australian sculptural production.
To quote the Art Gallery of NSW “… Madigan has become, over an understated career spanning four decades, arguably Australia’s most significant figurative carver. The female torso, the focus of much of her work, has led her to create sculptures which, at their best, have the sensuousness, subtlety and rigour of the greatest of the Indian carvings she admires.“