Jo Bertini

J o   B e r t i n i

Road to Taos, New Mexico

My art is focused on the unique, fragile beauty of desert landscapes, as well as the peoples and cultures they cradle. There is something about the vastness, stillness and richness of deserts that keeps drawing me back.

Vastness and geography emerge as themes in my work but are experienced via new senses and perceptions derived from the contrasts of my experiences in different desert places. I am interested in personalising the female experience via these landscapes, introducing the feminine perspective into the archived historical context of deserts. My artworks don’t seek to be didactic or purely descriptive but rather present themselves as an unfolding of a dream. The desert places I have been fortunate to know intimately and deeply are sacred sites of transformation, liminal spaces where we move from myth into culture and back into myth again.

Jo Bertini completed a BA in Fine Arts at Sydney University in the early 1980s. She worked around the world as a writer and illustrator for some years, living in Italy for a decade before returning to marry and study life drawing, painting and printmaking at the National Art School, Sydney.

Since 1988, she has held over 22 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 40 group shows both throughout Australia and abroad in commercial galleries, museums, State and regional galleries. Her paintings have toured nationally and internationally in exhibitions such as Living Lightly at the Indira Ghandi National Centre for Art; India; Australia’s Muslim Cameleers Pioneers of the Inland 1860s – 1930, Malaysia and Visions Down Under: Contemporary Australian Painting, China, and Country and Western, Australia.

She has been a finalist in numerous art awards, including the Wynne and Sulman Prizes, Art Gallery of New South Wales; Portia Geach Memorial Award; Doug Moran National Portrait Prize; Blake Prize; Fleurieu Biennale Landscape Prize; Alice Prize; Salon des Refusés; Fishers Ghost Art Prize; Kedumba Drawing Award; Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize; Calleen Art Award; Manning Art Prize; Tattersalls Art Prize and the Mosman Art Prize.

She has received public commissions, grants and artist-in-residencies from the National Museum of Australia, Brisbane City Council, the Bundanon Trust, Bathurst Regional Gallery, Hill End, Taronga Zoo, Murray Art Museum, Albury, Artstream, Albury Regional Gallery and, internationally, in New Mexico and Colorado, USA. In 2015-16, she was Sponsored Artist in India touring Rajasthan and Kutch with the Australian High Commission, culminating in a solo exhibition at the Indira Ghandi Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, India.

For ten years, Bertini worked as the Expedition Artist with ‘Australian Desert Expeditions’, a group of experts from national universities, museums and scientific institutions undertaking ecological, archeological and indigenous research into the most remote and inaccessible regions of the Australian deserts.

Her work is represented in public, corporate and private collections in Australia and internationally, including the Brooklyn Art Library, Brooklyn Art Museum, USA; National Museum of Australia, Canberra; National Library, Canberra; National Portrait Gallery of Australia, Canberra; South Australian Museum; Artbank; Charles Darwin University Collection; Woollongong University Gallery Collection; State Library of Victoria; Sydney Opera House Collection; Kedumba Drawing Collection; Bundanon Trust; KPMG Collection and the Westmead Children’s Hospital Collection, as well as in many State and regional galleries.

Bertini’s work has been widely published in newspapers, magazines, books, blogs, film, TV documentaries, articles and profiles. The art book, Fieldwork, anarchive of ten years of paintings from her sketchbooks, was published in 2014.

Elected a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 2016, Jo Bertini was awarded a US 0-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa and is currently working on projects in the deserts of Northern New Mexico, USA.

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