Two new painters for Sullivan + Strumpf

Yvette Coppersmith and Lara Merrett join the esteemed stable of leading Sydney gallery.

Words: Charlotte Middleton

Leading Sydney gallery Sullivan+Strumpf has announced its representation of two new acclaimed Australian women painters – Yvette Coppersmith and Lara Merrett.

Victorian College of the Arts alumnus Yvette Coppersmith’s painting practice began with portraiture in the realist tradition, but over the last 20 years has evolved to include still life, abstraction and the interplay of these genres with the figure.

The Melbourne-based painter was a five-time Archibald finalist before becoming the 10th woman to take out the prize in2018. Her work was included in the National Gallery of Australia’s notable exhibition, Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now; and in the Art Gallery of NSW’s Archi100 – a touring exhibition exploring the 100-year history of the Archibald Prize.

Coppersmith has exhibited extensively across Australia and internationally with work held in public and private collections, and has also been a finalist in the Len Fox Painting Award, Geelong Contemporary Art Prize, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the Portia Geach Memorial Award.

Lara Merrett meanwhile joins the gallery off the back of three major milestone shows at Artspace in 2017, the MCA Bella Jackson Room in 2018, and the University of Queensland Art Museum in 2019.

A highly accomplished mainstay in contemporary Australian painting, Merrett enters into rich dialogue with abstractionist and colourist traditions. Melbourne-born and now living between Sydney and the southern coast of NSW, the artist frequently eschews the constraints of the picture plane to immerse the viewer.

Within Merrett’s expansive colour fields, water-based materials are layered in a process never fully anticipated yet always transformative for the work and, when collaborative, all of those involved.

A selection of works by both artists will be included in Sullivan+Strumpf’s annual group show, opening January 2022. Additionally, Coppersmith’s solo exhibition debut with the gallery is scheduled for mid-next year.

This article was originally published 17 August 2021.

Image: Lara Merrett (left), Bella artist, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 2018. Image courtesy: the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney. Photographer: Anna Kucera; Yvette Coppersmith (right), 2021. Photo by Elanor Louise Butt.

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