Changing the landscape: the life and art of Moya Dyring
AuthorCuthbert, Gaynor Patricia
AffiliationSchool of Creative Arts, Faculty of Arts
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
CitationsCuthbert, G. P. (2002). Changing the landscape: the life and art of Moya Dyring. Masters Research thesis, School of Creative Arts, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2002 Gaynor Patricia Cuthbert
This thesis brings back into focus the life and art of Moya Oyring 1909-1967, who for a time played an important role in Australian art history. From 1937 she lived mainly in France and during her lifetime produced a substantial body of work, most of which was sold at exhibitions throughout Australia. Dyring's early work was figurative, her style strongly defined by the George Bell School and an early foray into Cubism. After settling in France the figures gave way to the constantly changing landscape as she travelled throughout the countryside of France, Spain and Italy. She recorded the life of the country villages the seaside towns and the vistas of Paris. But as her life slowed down in the late 1950s and early 1960s and she travelled less, the figures of children, playing in the parks and gardens blending with the cityscape of Paris, took over from the predominate landscape of earlier years. This thesis is presented in two parts. The first part takes the form of a biography, reconstructing the life of the artist from letters and interviews. Fifty six letters were sent to John and Sunday Reed by Dyring, over a period of thirty years and are now held in the archives of the State Library of Victoria. These letters and other relevant archival material have been used to reconstruct the life of the artist in consultation with family members and friends. Secondary sources, including catalogues and relevant art historical texts have provided additional knowledge of significant people and events that have had an impact on the artist's life, such as John and Sunday Reed, Sam Atyeo and Herbert and Mary Alice Evatt. The second section studies her work and the critical reception it received. It places the artist in the context of her own history, her art practice and art history as it relates to Dyring's gendered experience, politically and personally. Lack of knowledge of the artist's life and work has contributed to her being almost completely disregarded in exhibitions of women artists working in the thirties, forties and fifties. Her contribution to the emerging modernist scene in Melbourne and the part she played in the circle surrounding John and Sunday Reed at Heide, has been reduced to a few lines in art historical texts, yet a studio in Paris bears her name in homage to a great supporter of fellow artists. She had a rare gift for friendship and extended generous hospitality to a large circle friends and young artist visiting Paris from Australia. Like so many women artists of her generation her place in history has been ignored and her art forgotten. This thesis tells her story and places Moya Dyring and her art and life, back into the landscape.
KeywordsMoya Dyring (1909-1967); women painters; biography; Australia
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