Blue & White

A look at Brett Whiteley’s ceramics and the importance of the colour blue in his art

Blue-and-white ceramics are one of pottery’s best-known and enduring products. Invented in China, they’ve been copied and created by makers worldwide, with the Middle East, Japan, Vietnam and Korea all producing their own variations. Brett Whiteley followed in this long tradition, producing ceramics solely in these colours, in a lesser known tranche of his art practice.

Blue, of course, can be found not only in the sweeping lines that follow the forms of his rounded ceramics, but also in the blue ink applied with brush to paper in his calligraphic drawings and the rich deep blue of the Sydney Harbour paintings for which he is famed.​

This exhibition presents a rare focus on Whiteley's ceramics, along with related prints and drawings, augmented by select paintings, many of which include depictions of blue-and-white ware.

We’ve also been listening to the Brett Whiteley: drawing is everything playlist on spotify. Music played a crucial role in the life and work of Brett Whiteley. He listened to music while he painted and drew, and counted some of the world’s most famous musicians as friends. Channel the master through the playlist here.


Brett Whiteley Blue and White
30 April – 16 October 2022
Brett Whiteley Studio, Surry Hills
(open Thursday–Sunday only)
Admission is free

Image // Brett Whiteley Still life with meat 1975–76, Art Gallery of New South Wales © Wendy Whiteley


 Ginger jar (with later cover)  1662-1722

...And while you’re in the neighbourhood visit The Way We Eat at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

The Way We Eat brings together works of art related to food – that ancient source of inspiration, pleasure and anxiety. It considers what we eat; how food is made, stored and consumed; the evolution of culinary wares; cultural exchange; and the ritual and symbolic meanings associated with food.

Combining historical treasures with dramatic contemporary artworks, the exhibition is drawn from the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ extensive Asian art collection and loans from private collections.
More here.

Image // Ginger jar (with later cover) 1662-1722, artist unknown

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