Madonna Staunton


Born in 1938, Madonna Staunton is an artist and poet who lives and works in Brisbane. Very early in her life Staunton was encouraged to make art by her mother who was also a painter and poet of repute. Her father was a book trader, and she grew up in his store surrounded by literature. From 1965 to 1967, Staunton attended regular art classes with Bronwyn Thomas, and received occasional tuition from Jon Molvig, Nevil Matthews and Roy Churcher in Brisbane. Her own studies of music and oriental philosophy, and her immersion in writing, particularly poetry, have broadened her creative development. She began painting lyrical abstract paintings in the mode of Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still. The artist first exhibited her paintings with the Royal Queensland Art Society from 1956 to 1961, and with the Brisbane Contemporary Art Society from 1966 to 1971.

From the mid-1970s Staunton abandoned painting and concentrated on collage, assemblage, and related media, for which she became known. Only recently has she returned to painting. In recent years, Staunton’s work has been featured in a number of important group exhibitions, including 2016’s ‘Painting. More Painting’ at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, profiling painting’s resurgence in the last decade and 2015’s ‘Streetwise: Contemporary Print Culture’ at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. In 2014, the Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane presented a retrospective of Staunton’s work, with a focus on her paintings and entitled ‘Out of a Clear Blue Sky’. 

Madonna Staunton’s work is held in a number of major public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Artbank, Sydney; Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo; Griffith University, Brisbane; University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane; Queensland University of Technology Art Museum, Brisbane; Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Parliament House, Canberra.