Published on 12 September 2013
A Kiels Mountain artist whose oil painting was highly commended as runner-up in the 2013 Gallipoli Art Prize is using the artwork as a catalyst for his research degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Garry Dolan, 49, enrolled last semester in a Master of Creative Arts at USC, aiming to study and portray the poignancy of war in the lead-up to next year’s centenary of the start of World War One.
“My research is based around my creation of a series of oil paintings depicting the modern-day experience of visiting the World War One battlefields of The Western Front as they are today,” he said.
Mr Dolan has been a professional artist for several years after a diverse career in elite-level sports marketing for international cricket, football and motorsport.
Specialising in painting the Coast’s beaches and hinterland, he has sold works in Australia, Japan and New Zealand and is an exhibiting member of the Australian Society of Marine Artists.
His painting of Coolum Beach won the People’s Choice Award of the Queensland Regional Arts Awards in 2012.
His 2013 Gallipoli Art Prize painting, finished last year and titled ‘Hey Mum, Over Here, I Think That I Have Found Him’, was exhibited at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra after its success this year.
It was also exhibited as part of USC’s inaugural Art in Research competition on campus at Sippy Downs in July.
Mr Dolan said the painting revealed an emotional moment of his family’s 2004 visit to Villers-Bretonneux in the Somme, France, when his daughter found the grave of an ancestor, Private Harold Prosser, in the war cemetery.
“I created this work to portray what it is like to walk this sacred ground and pay respects to a family and a lost generation,” he said.
The self-taught artist, who works mainly on commission, said his USC degree was teaching him the importance of the narrative side of art.
“Before, I concentrated on the technical side of putting paint on canvas but now I’m learning how powerful the narrative can be,” he said.
“It’s what I need to get to the next level with my art. I’m so lucky to have supervisors Dr Lisa Chandler (Senior Lecturer in Art and Design) and Dr Ian White (Senior Lecturer in Digital Design and Media) to help me design my project to achieve that.”
Mr Dolan will again visit France in November to gather more material for his USC research and paintings.
— Julie Schomberg