Danelle Bergstrom

Two movements - Peter Sculthorpe

oil on linen
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Peter Sculthorpe is a celebrated Australian composer and an Australian Living Treasure. Born in Tasmania, he has been composing since the age of seven. His distinctive music, which has Asian and Aboriginal influences, often evokes the contours, harsh beauty and sounds of the Australian bush. Famous Sculthorpe works include Kakadu (1988), Earth cry (1992) and Requiem (2004), which featured didgeridoo soloist William Barton.

Danelle Bergstrom, who paints landscapes as well as portraits, has long been fascinated by Sculthorpe and his music and has been doing research about him for some time now. ‘What initially interested me was an affinity I felt we shared: a passion and inspiration derived from our emotional connection with the expressive Australian landscape,’ she says.

‘Always generous with his time, Peter and I worked together in his home and my studio where he and his music have been a great inspiration to me. I worked on many ideas and images, developing several paintings while listening to his CDs. It has been a journey of discovery visually and musically, revealing many similarities and connections between music and art, both conceptually and within the creative process, to visualise sound and listen to imagery.’

Bergstrom often uses more than one canvas in her portraits to create a time sequence or capture different aspects of her subject. Her portrait in last year’s Archibald Prize, for example, featured a double image of actor Jack Thompson, which won the Packing Room Prize.

Born in Sydney in 1957, Bergstrom studied at the Julian Ashton School of Art and has a Bachelor of Art Education from the Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education. She has exhibited regularly in numerous solo and group shows in Australia and internationally since 1980. Her portraits have been hung in the Portia Geach Memorial Award and the Doug Moran Portrait Prize as well as the Archibald, and her work is represented in many public collections including the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.