ACU appoints first art curator

Photo of acu art curator Caroline Field

ACU Curator Caroline Field with Jon Cattapan oil on canvas 'Transported Group No. 1' at the Melbourne Campus.

ACU has appointed Caroline Field as its first curator.

In the newly-created role, Caroline will be responsible for managing the University’s extensive art collection and documenting, developing and displaying the collection across each of its seven campuses.“

The University is very fortunate to be holding such magnificent treasures and artworks,” Caroline said.

“We want to celebrate them and we want to share and promote them with the University community and the general public.”

Previously the Curator and Manager of the Deakin University art collection, Caroline is a well-known figure in the Australian art community. She has curated more than 20 major exhibitions and is currently writing a book on the history of the Australian Galleries, for which she has been awarded a Creative Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Craven said that he was delighted the University had been able to appoint a curator of Caroline’s experience and insight.

“It is one of the historic missions of a Catholic university to conserve and share art, and we are very much look forward to Caroline guiding us in this work.”

Caroline’s initial task as curator involves identifying, photographing and cataloguing each item in the current collection.

“I’ll be visiting each of our campuses multiple times and walking into room after room, lecture theatres, foyers, offices and administration areas and sighting every single area across the campuses in order to locate and record all of the artworks,” Caroline explained.

Caroline said while she couldn’t put a number on the amount of items in ACU’s collection at this point, the artworks covered a broad range of styles and mediums.

“Once I’ve catalogued all of the items I’ll then be able to categorise them into sub-groups such as religious art, sacred art, indigenous art, historical art, contemporary art, decorative art, sculpture, paintings and works on paper,” Caroline said.

While she is just beginning to discover the ACU collection, Caroline said her favourite item so far was a painting by Taddeo di Bartolo called The Virgin Annunciate, which currently hangs in the St Mary of the Cross Chapel at the Melbourne Campus.

Painted in the late 14th or early 15th century, the tempera on panel painting features gold ground.“It’s an absolute jewel of an item and we’re very proud to have it in the collection,” Caroline said.

After all the items in the collection have been catalogued, Caroline’s next steps will be to determine where each artwork will be displayed in order to enhance the University’s aesthetic environment.

“I’ll be looking at how we can best present the works across the campuses to ensure there is maximum benefit for everybody to enjoy the artworks,” Caroline said.

“My hope and my goal is to make each and every campus a gallery within its own right for all of the artworks to be presented in.”

In the meantime, you’ll probably spot Caroline at some point over the next few months as she explores all seven ACU campuses in search of items from the art collection during the cataloguing process.

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