Artist Sue Goddard, Michael Bryce AM AE and long-time friend of David Bryce, Lindsay Rigby, cut a special birthday cake to officially open the artist’s 100th birthday retrospective exhibition

September 8, 2016

A new art prize named in honour of South Burnett artist David Bryce will be awarded annually from 2017.

The new prize was announced on Thursday at the official opening of Kingaroy Art Gallery’s David Bryce Retrospective Exhibition by his second cousin, renowned architect and industrial designer Michael Bryce AM AE, the husband of former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce.

A crowd of about 70 people packed the Gallery to hear the announcement and browse more than 140 David Bryce artworks drawn from public and private collections in the single largest display of the artist’s work ever seen.

Works on show at the exhibition include streetscapes, landscapes, pottery, carvings and a series of apocalyptic paintings reflecting Bryce’s enduring interest in ecology and his despair about the future of humanity.

The artist, who died on August 23, 2000, would have been celebrating his 100th birthday on Thursday.

Michael Bryce told the audience that David was descended from Scottish shipwright James Bryce, who came to Australia in 1852 and married Mary Duke, the eldest daughter of Irish artist William Duke, five years later.

William Duke’s works can now be found in art galleries in Tasmania, South Australia, Sydney and many regional galleries, as well as the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Michael speculated that William Duke’s prolific artistic skills may have been passed on to his daughter and her children, and ultimately to David Bryce.

David’s father, William, was the first born son of 11 children born to James and Mary, who later relocated the family from Melbourne to Alstonville in the northern rivers area of NSW to become farmers.

Once resettled, William Bryce married Emily Dunlop in 1896 and David Bryce – their only child – spent his childhood playing on the edges of what little rainforest remained in the area, which may have played a part in his later interests in woodwork and the environment.

When David Bryce grew up he studied at the William Lister Art School in Sydney, then went on to train in forestry at Gatton Agricultural College.

David Bryce lived at Mt Tambourine before moving to Kingaroy, but was greatly admired in both towns for his art skills, his free art classes, and his regular letters to editors of local newspapers on issues he felt strongly about.

Long time friend Lindsay Rigby then spoke about the high regard David Bryce was given in the South Burnett.

“He was a genuinely gentle man with a kind spirit who was unfailingly courteous,” Lindsay said.

“He was a great artist, but also a passionate environmentalist concerned about the preservation of the natural environment.”

Artist Sue Goddard, Michael Bryce and Lindsay Rigby then cut a special 100th Birthday cake to declare the exhibition open.

  • The David Bryce Retrospective Exhibition will be on display at the Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery from 10:00am to 4:00pm weekdays and 10:00am to 2:00pm weekends and public holidays until Tuesday, October 4. Admission to view the exhibition is free.
After the opening Cr Ros Heit, Mayor Keith Campbell and Cr Danita Potter chatted with Michael Bryce about his own long and distinguished career as an architect and designer

Some Exhibition Artworks

A detail from “Cityscape” painted in 1974; the scene is thought to be Adelaide Street in Brisbane, looking towards North Quay
This view of Beangrowers’ Kingaroy plant was commissioned by the company in 1982, and for many years hung in its boardroom
A view of Scott Street, Wondai in the 1970s looking up towards the CBD, before the construction of the roundabout, the Wondai Regional Art Gallery and the dingo sculptures
A sunset over Lamb Street, Murgon in the 1970s, looking south
A detail from a large painting of the old Peanut Company Of Australia factory in Kingaroy, painted in the 1970s when the plant was still serviced by the railway

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables

 

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