Church interior


Church interior depicts Grace Cossington Smith’s family place of worship, St James’s Anglican Church in Turramurra, Sydney. The painting alludes to the impact of the Second World War on the home front by the absence of men of enlistment age in the congregation. Church interior exhibits the pure, singing quality of her finest paintings and the spirituality she found in the world around her. She wrote:

All form – landscape, interiors, still life, flowers, animals, people – have [sic] an inarticulate grace and beauty; painting to me is expressing this form in colour, colour vibrant with light – but containing this other, silent quality which is unconscious, and belongs to all things created.

Grace Cossington Smith

Grace Cossington Smith, Australia 1892-1984 / Church interior c.1941-42 (inscr. 1937) / Oil with pencil on pulpboard / Purchased 2001 with funds raised through The Grace Cossington Smith Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Appeal / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Estate of Grace Cossington Smith

O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism’ is on show at the Queensland Art Gallery until 11 June 2017 and is accompanied by an exhibition publication available from the QAGOMA Store.

Curious to read More | View Church interior in ‘Making Modernism’

The exhibition explores the intersection of three remarkable modernist painters who each used colour and abstraction to create a distinct, identifiable art. Even though they did not discuss their work with each other, North American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) and Australians Margaret Preston (1875–1963) and Grace Cossington Smith (1892–1984) shared a passionate curiosity for the natural world, and each worked within the emerging transcultural discourse of Modernism.

Presented by the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Victoria, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, in partnership with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, and supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Gordon Darling Foundation.