Nautical elements converse in latest acquisition

The Murdoch University Art Collection Board is thrilled to announce a recent gift contributed to the Collection’s GOLD HORIZON 50th Anniversary Artwork Donation Campaign.

Hollis, Meredith and Dr Hilaire Dufour have donated two important paintings created by their mother, Siné MacPherson.

Titled Windforce and State of the Sea, these paintings were previously featured in Remix, an exhibition that showcased the creativity of twenty contemporary Western Australian artists of diverse backgrounds, age, and experience at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 2011. More recently, Siné included the paintings in her solo exhibition titled The Wind and the Ocean, at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery in 2021.

The two paintings are separate but interconnected works. Windforce (2009) is a four-paneled painting that references the “Beaufort Wind Force Scale” which is based on the observation of nautical sail settings to communicate the force (strength) of the wind. The visual narrative of these sail configurations converse with the second painting, State of the Sea (2009), comprised of thirteen panels, which visualize the sea conditions corresponding to the original Beaufort Scale and is still in use today.

Siné was born in Saskatchewan, Canada and emigrated to Australia in 1983. She is known for her meticulously coloured abstract paintings. Previous subject matter of her artworks has included field guides for plants and birds, dictionaries from her bookshelves, and newspapers. In a previous interview Siné outlined her inspiration:

“My interests lay in colour, the descriptive language of visual phenomena and visual systems. I collect information, collate and refine, and eventually make a painting to see what it might look like,” she said.

Murdoch University Art Collection Assistant Curator Dr Baige Zylstra (left) visiting Siné MacPherson (middle) and Siné’s husband, Gary Dufour (right) at Siné’s studio in March 2024.


Although this is the first time Siné’s paintings are represented in the Art Collection, Murdoch University has previously been the fortunate beneficiary of other artwork generously donated by the Dufour family through the Federal Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.

Murdoch University Senior Curator & Art Collection Manager, Mark Stewart, and Assistant Curator Dr Baige Zylstra are delighted with the Dufour Famiy’s generous donation:

"We appreciate that the Dufour Family has selected Murdoch University Art Collection as the recipient institution for this generous and thoughtful gift. Siné MacPherson is an important contemporary Western Australian artist, not previously featured in the Collection, so we’re thrilled to represent her through these significant paintings. Windforce and State of the Sea are elegant works which perfectly reflect Siné’s signature conceptual rigour and in-depth research, making the paintings a fantastic source material for object-based learning, research and teaching.”


Feature pic: Installation view of Windforce (4 paintings in top row) and State of the Sea (13 paintings in bottom row) by Siné MacPherson, presented in the REMIX at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, 2011.

Posted on:

20 May 2024

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