b. 1942, Sydney.

Garry Shead is one of Australia's most celebrated contemporary figurative painters, with his work steeped in allegory and symbolism, inviting spiritual, philosophical and historical interpretation.

Shead attended the National Art School in Sydney 1961-1962 and from 1966 exhibited regularly with Sydney's Watters Gallery. In 1967 he received the Young Contemporaries Prize, travelling to Japan, France, Vienna, New Guinea and Budapest. During this period, Shead also worked in film and television, being a founding member of the Ubu Film collective and making experimental films. Shead was also artist in residence at Karolyi Foundation Studio in Vence through the Victorian Arts Board in 1982 and has completed residencies with the indigenous artists of Lockhart River.

In the late 1980s he developed the figurative paintings for which he is best-know; the Bundeena Paintings the D. H. Lawrence Kangaroo Series(1993) and the Queen Elizabeth II Series (1995).

His work has been included in group exhibitions including the Archibald, Wynne, Sulman and Moran Prizes at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Shead was awarded the Archibald Prize in 1993 and the Dobell Prize in 2004. His work is held in all major collections in Australia, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

“Shead is an artist who subscribes to what is now an unfashionable theory that the artist is a medium who surrenders to his Muse. Although he is an exquisite technician, who has spent forty years mastering the skills of the old masters, in the final analysis, as he notes in his journal "Ern Malley emerges from the blank page”...”

(excerpt from Garry Shead and the Ern Malley series by Sasha Grishin, 2003


GARRY SHEAD - Marriage at Mount Pleasant, 2013, oil on board, 41 x 51 cm
GARRY SHEAD - Royal Couple, 2009, oil on board, 22 x 30cm
1942Born, Sydney, Australia
1961-62Studied at National Art School
Published cartoons in Oz; The Bulletin; Sydney Morning Herald & Honi Soit
1963-67Scenic Artist with ABC Television
1967Young Contemporaries Prize
1972Artist in Residence, Michael Korolyi Foundation, France
1983Lived in Hungary
1986Mahlab Art Prize, New South Wales Law Society
1987Doug Moran National Portrait Prize Finalist
1993Winner, The Archibald Prize
2004Winner, Dobell Prize for Drawing
2016Australian Galleries, Sydney
2014The Antipodean Divine Comedy, Australian Galleries, Sydney
2013The Muse of Mount Pleasant, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2011Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane
2010Love on Mount Pleasant, Garry Shead Toasts Maurice O'Shea, Australian Galleries, Sydney
2009Precursive Paintings, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2008Australian Galleries, Sydney
2007Australian Galleries, Sydney
2005The Apotheosis of Ern Malley, Australian Galleries, Melbourne
2004The Apotheosis of Ern Malley, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, Sydney
2003The Apotheosis of Ern Malley, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
Ern Malley Series, Australian Galleries, Sydney
Ern Malley Series, Bathurst Regional Gallery - ceramic urns in collaboration with Lino Alvarez
2001Artist and Muse, Australian Galleries, Melbourne
2000Artist and the Muse, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
Artist and Muse, Australian Galleries, Sydney
1999Artist and the Muse, Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane
1997Seywald Gallery, Salzburg, Austria
Dance, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
The Royal Suite, Michael Nagy Fine Art, Sydney
1996Phillip Bacon Gallery, Brisbane
Lyall Burton Gallery, Melbourne
1995The Royal Suite, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
The Royal Suite, Solander Gallery, Canberra
The Royal Suite, Michael Nagy, Sydney
1994Dover Street Gallery, London, UK
1993-94DH Lawrence Series, Art Gallery of New South Wales
1993DH Lawrence Series, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide;
Lyall Burton, Melbourne; Phillip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane
1992Solander Gallery, Canberra; Wollongong City Gallery; Michael Nagy Fine Art, Sydney
1991Solander Gallery, Canberra; Phillip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane
1990BMG Gallery, Adelaide
1989Greenhill Galleries, Perth
1988William Mora Galleries, Melbourne; Artmet, Sydney
1987Gary Anderson Gallery, Sydney
2012Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
2011large exhibition of small works, Australian Galleries, Sydney
large exhibition of small works, Australian Galleries, Melbourne
Summer Exhibition, Australian Galleries, Sydney
2010Summer Show, Australian Galleries, Sydney
Australian Masters 2010, Solander Gallery, Canberra
Artists’ Prints made with Integrity I, Australian Galleries, Melbourne
Salon des Refusés, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2009Stock Show, Australian Galleries, Sydney
A Sculpture by…, Australian Galleries, Sydney
A Sculpture by…, Australian Galleries, Melbourne
Ceramics, Contemporary Australian artists in Ceramic, Australian Galleries, Sydney
Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
2008Group Exhibition, Australian Galleries, Sydney
Stock Show, Australian Galleries, Sydney
Garry Shead, Adam Rish, Stephen Roach & Greg Weight, Australian Galleries, Sydney
Wish you were here, Tweed River Art Gallery, Murwillumbah South, NSW
2007Judit and Garry Shead, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
200650th Anniversary Exhibition, Australian Galleries, Melbourne
Fine Australian Prints and Drawings, Australian Galleries, Melbourne
Australian Galleries, Melbourne
Stock Show, Australian Galleries, Melbourne
Summery, Australian Galleries, Sydney
2005Australian Galleries, Painting and Sculpture, Sydney
Archibald Prize exhibition, Art Gallery of NSW
Fireworks, Tracing the incendiary in Australian Art, Artspace travelling exhibition, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville, Gladstone, Hazelhurst, Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, Ballarat, Mornington Peninsula, and University Art Museum, QLD
2004Dobell Prize for Drawing, The Art Gallery of NSW
ILLOS the art of contemporary illustration, New Contemporaries, Sydney
In the presence of all creatures great and small, Australian Galleries Works on Paper, Sydney
2003Kelly Culture: Reconstructing Ned Kelly, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne
2000Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW [Sasha Grishin]
1998Sulman Prize, Art Gallery NSW [The bearers]
Blake Prize, Darling Park Gallery [Epiphany]
Swingtime: East coast – West coast, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia
1997Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW [Carpe(t) Diem – Adam Rish]
Sulman Prize, Art Gallery NSW [Sacred cow]
1996Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW and national tour [Jacqui McKenzie]
5th Doug Moran Portrait Prize and touring exhibition [Jacqui McKenzie]
Sulman Prize, Art Gallery NSW [Visitation]
1995Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW [Alice Kalmar-Spigelman]
Sulman Prize, Art Gallery NSW [Parable of the ointment]
1993Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW [Tom Thompson] (Awarded)
Blake Prize, Blaxland Gallery, and national tour [The Magdalene in the Pharisees house]
1992Tony Coleing and friends, National Gallery of Australia
Blake Prize Exhibition, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney [The Marriage in Cana]
1991Archibald Prize Exhibition, Art Gallery NSW [Robert Adamson]
1989Prints and Australia, National Gallery of Australia
1988Portraits of Australia, Doug Moran National Portrait Prize Collection, National Touring Exhibition [Portrait of Martin Sharp]
1987Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW [Frank Watters]
1985Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW [Bruce Petty]
Recent Acquisitions of Australian Prints, National Gallery of Australia
Archibald Prize, Art Gallery NSW [Martin Sharp]
Adamson, Robert; Cross the Border, Prism Books, Sydney, 1977
Auty, Giles; ‘Modern Mutants’, Weekend Review, The Australian, 4-5 Nov 1995
Bonython, Kym; Modern Australian Painting 1950-75, Rigby, Adelaide, 1980
Bonython, Kym; Modern Australian Painting 1970-75, Rigby, Adelaide, 1975
Bonython, Kym; Modern Australian Painting 1975-80, Rigby, Adelaide, 1980
Catalano, Gary; What Are the Wild Waves Saying?, Watters Gallery, Sydney, 1974
Catalano, Gary; Watercolours of Garry Shead, Aspect, No. 2/1, 1976, pp10-14
Catalano, Gary; Years of Hope: Australian Art and Art Criticism 1959-1968, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1980
Catalano, Gary; Building a Picture: Interviews with Australian Artists, McGraw-Hill, Sydney, 1997
Cantrill, Arthur and Corinne, Garry Shead Interview, Cantrills Film notes, 13 April 1973
Dodd, Terri; ‘Garry Shead wins the 1993 Archibald prize – At Last!’, Australian Artist, May 1993
Frost, Annabel; ‘Shedding connections’, Australian Country Style, May 1994
Gleeson, James; ‘Open Verdict on Violence’, Sunday Telegraph, 3 December 1967
Grishin, Sasha; Garry Shead and the Erotic Muse, Craftsman House, 2001
Grishin, Sasha; ‘Garry Shead: Kangaroo’, Canberra Times, 13 June 1992
Grishin, Sasha; Garry Shead: The D.H. Lawrence Paintings, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1993
Grishin, Sasha; ‘Fleshing Out a Royal Debate’, Canberra Times, 1 Sept 1995
Hard, Lynn; ‘Australia Suite’, ETT Imprint, Sydney 1998
Hawley, Janet; ‘Just one look’, Good Weekend, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 2001
Horton, Mervyn; Present Day Art in Australia, Ure Smith, Sydney 1969
Horton, Mervyn; Australian Painters of the Seventies, Ure Smith, Sydney 1975
Krausmann, Rudi; Poems- Shead, Garry: Drawings, Fast Books, Sydney 1991
Krausmann, Rudi; The Journey and other poems, Fast Books, Sydney 1999
Lynn, Elwynn; ‘The Use of Pornography in Painting’, The Bulletin, 20 Nov 1971
McKenna, Mark; This Country – A reconciled republic?, UNSW Press, Sydney 1999
McKenna, Mark: ‘Poetics of place’, Griffith Review, Griffith University, QLD, Summer 03-04
McDonald, John; ‘Garry Shead: The Royal Suite’, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Nov 1995
McGregor, Craig; In the Making, Nelson, Sydney 1969
McGregor, Craig; People, Politics and Pop: Australia in the Sixties, Ure Smith, Sydney 1968
McGregor, Craig; ‘For the Love of Lawrence’, Good Weekend, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 July 1992, pp 10-15
Mendelssohn, Joanna; Kangaroo, D.H. Lawrence at Thirroul: Paintings by Garry Shead, Wollongong City Gallery, Wollongong, 1992
Rish, Adam; The Royal Suite: Paintings by Garry Shead, catalogue essay, 1995
Smith, Bernard; Australian Painting 1788-1970, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1971
Tubb, Rochelle; ‘Look, The Queen Has No Clothes’, Sun Herald, 22 October 1995
Weight, Greg’ ‘Garry Shead’s tribute to D.H. Lawrence’, Australian Artist, August 1993
The National Gallery of Australia, ACT; The Art Gallery of NSW; The Art Gallery of SA; Newcastle Region Art Gallery, NSW; Wollongong City Gallery, NSW; The National Museum, Budapest, Hungary; The Shepparton Art Gallery, Victoria; The Philip Morris Collection, Canberra; Sydney Morning Herald Collection, Sydney; The State Bank Collection, Sydney; University of Western Australia; Queensland Art Gallery; Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery; University of NSW; National Film Library; Parliament House Collection, Canberra; Visual Arts and Crafts Board, Sydney; Australian National University; Northern Territory University; Queensland University of Technology; Brisbane City Hall Art Gallery and Museum; Artbank, Sydney; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery; Mildura Art Centre, Victoria; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; Visual Arts and Crafts Board, Sydney.