Installation view of Katherine Hattam’s <em>Our list</em> 2021 on display as part of the Melbourne Now exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023. Image: Sean Fennessy

Katherine Hattam

Katherine Hattam
(b. 1950, Wurundjeri Country / Melbourne. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Katherine Hattam works across painting, drawing, collage, printmaking and sculpture, with her practice frequently interrogating language, particularly the written word, as well as dialects of domesticity, family and the self.

Two-sided and suspended in space, Our list, 2020, continues Hattam’s practice of infusing her works with the objects and influences that have shaped her. Recent works, including this one, have been created in response to Philip Guston’s 1973 painting Pantheon, in which Guston listed a personal canon of European male painters. In Our list, Hattam rewrites the record with a new list resulting from a survey of 200 peers regarding their favourite women artists – Australian and international, living and dead. Reflecting on these works in an essay for the 2020 exhibition Katherine Hattam: The Landscape of Language, Dr Anne Norton writes:

Hattam’s Pantheon is collaborative where Guston’s was individual, and though hers refuses his implicit universalism, hers is larger, encompassing more kinds of work, more spaces, peoples and cultures. Guston’s was an avowal, it sought to settle. Hattam’s is unsettling. Guston’s list is an answer, Hattam’s list questions … Hattam reminds us of the people we do not know, the work we missed, of rents and wounds, elisions and concealments.

Hattam held her first exhibition in 1978 at Melbourne’s Ewing and George Paton Gallery, alongside Helen Frankenthaler, and has exhibited regularly ever since. Her work is held in most of Australia’s major public collections, including those of the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Deakin and La Trobe Universities, Warrnambool Art Gallery, Monash University of Modern Art, and Bendigo Art Gallery, as well as in private and corporate collections including George Patterson, Minter Ellison, National Bank of Australia, Potter Warburg, Smorgon, the Darling Foundation and RACV. She has won the Banyule and Robert Jacks drawing prizes, and has been shortlisted in the Sulman Prize, the Dobell Drawing Prize, the National Works on Paper prize, and the Arthur Guy and Geelong Gallery painting prizes. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature and politics from the University of Melbourne (1974), an Master of Fine Art (Painting) from the Victorian College of the Arts (1992) and a PhD from Deakin University (2004).