TMAG Presents Gay Hawkes: The House of Longing

Gay Hawkes exhibition

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is thrilled to present a major exhibition celebrating nationally respected Tasmanian furniture maker, sculptor and artist, Gay Hawkes.

Gay Hawkes: The House of Longing showcases Gay’s incredible work, and recognises her commitment to her practice as an artist and educator over 40 years, as well as her creative resilience in the wake of the devastating 2013 Dunalley bushfire.

It is the latest in TMAG’s series of exhibitions focusing on living Tasmanian artists, following on from David Keeling: Stranger (2020-21), Julie Gough: Tense Past (2019), Patrick Hall: Things I Once Knew (2015) and Illumination: The Art of Philip Wolfhagen (2013).

Gay is particularly well known for pioneering the use of found materials such as horizontal scrub, driftwood, and shipping pallets in her furniture.

She has been represented by commercial galleries across Australia, and her work has been included in major arts festivals and acquired by national and state collecting institutions.

Tragically, Gay’s studio and home were destroyed in the Dunalley bush fire in January 2013, along with her tools and an irreplaceable collection of her life’s work.

This event has structured the exhibition, which is loosely divided into galleries of works made before and after the fire.

Gay Hawkes details

Principal Curator of Art, Jane Stewart, said TMAG was pleased to be able to highlight Gay’s work, and her incredible life story, in The House of Longing.

“TMAG has had a long association with Gay, and holds several of her works in its collection, and so we are therefore delighted to present her first solo exhibition in an Australian public gallery,” Jane said.

“The purpose of TMAG’s Tasmanian artist series is to acknowledge and celebrate our leading artists and the contribution they have made to our community.

“Gay is well-respected as an artist locally, nationally and internationally and while her work explores themes such as history, politics, the environment and feminism, at the same time it is firmly rooted in her Tasmanian life.”

TMAG’s Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, Peter Hughes, said that The House of Longing is designed as a sensitive response both to Gay’s body of work over 40 years and also her experience of loss.

“Since the heartbreaking destruction of her house and studio in the 2013 bushfire, Gay has been making furniture for an imagined new home,” Peter said.

“This has included chairs, tables and cupboards constructed from wood salvaged from shipping pallets and crates, and decorated with quirky occasional details such as flowers made from shells and her mother’s dolls which were salvaged from the wreckage of the fire.

“We are so pleased to have been able to work with Gay to reconstruct her ideal home in our galleries, and we hope that visitors are just as moved and inspired by this House of Longing.”

Gay Hawkes: The House of Longing is on show in Argyle Galleries 1–3 from 18 March – 28 August 2022. Entry is free.

Gay Hawkes paintings

Image details: Installation views, Gay Hawkes: The House of Longing, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 2022