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Painting donated for Glen Waverley Chapel

L-R: Head of Campus, Sheriden Vella, Middle School Captains, Aidan Lee and Kate Stilling, and Chaplain, Bradon French

The Wesley Foundation acknowledges the generous donation of a significant work from the collection of Paul Guest OAM (OW1957), who is a well-known collector of abstract art.

This religious work, Ascension, by Australian artist Craig Gough, was donated by Paul last year.

Craig Gough now lives in regional Victoria and kindly provided the following background and insights to his work.

'In the late 1960s and early 70s, my paintings were concerned with ‘colour’ as an abstract emotional response to forms. These forms derived mostly from the landscape. I lived near the ocean in Perth and travelled daily along the West Coast Highway on my way to teaching in the art school at Claremont. As a result, the horizontal line of the sea and the vast openness of the sky in all weather and cloud formations, plus the blue-green of the ocean, became a feature of my paintings at the time.'

Ascension is concerned with the relationship between land, sea and sky and reaching up higher, but also constrained by, earthly structures, horizontal and vertical, in opposition to the organic forms of nature which enclose them.

When I painted this work, I wasn’t consciously making a religious painting. This suggestion was made by the Reverend John Hazelwood (1924-1998), the then Anglican Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in Perth, who upon opening my exhibition, announced that he would like to see it in a cathedral. He was a forward-thinking clergyman who also conducted a Rock Mass in the cathedral. I know that he copped criticism for that from the conservative elements in the church.

Ascension was subsequently sold some years later and purchased by Paul Guest. I'm now delighted it has found a home in the Chapel at Wesley College.'

The Head of Glen Waverley Campus, Sheriden Vella, was delighted with the work and thanked Paul on behalf of the campus community:

'This painting, so generously donated by Paul Guest, has brought additional colour and movement to the Chapel. The Craig Gough artwork ties in so beautifully with the stained glass window that dominates the space. Standing back to admire the piece you can see a woman praying, along with a cross, making its placement in our Campus Chapel all the more special.'

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