Drew Gregory was born in Melbourne in 1947. He studied printmaking and painting at Prahran Technical College and R.M.I.T. as well as Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne. During this time he received tuition from many notable artists including George Baldessin, Jan Senbergs Andrew Sibley and Peter Booth. Later in life he gained valuable insights and advice from Albert Tucker and Clifton Pugh.
It was Pugh`s son Shane who organized the highly successful Drew Gregory/Clifton Pugh national touring exhibition (1996-97), unique for reaching remote Aboriginal communities, major towns and capital cities in nearly all states with an amazing twenty-three openings.
Gregory has held 52 solo shows and has been involved in numerous group exhibitions throughout Australia; but has also held highly successful solo exhibitions in Chicago, Toronto, Hong Kong, Kowloon and Singapore. He has repeatedly been a finalist in national exhibitions including the Doug Moran Portrait Prize where he won Nation`s Choice; in 1994, the A.C.T.A. Shipping Awards (twice), the Tattersall’s Club National Landscape Prize (seven times), the Discovery Art Show and Prints Across Australia touring regional galleries. In 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014 he won Members’ Choice in the Tattersall’s Club National Landscape Prize. In 2014, as well as winning the Members’ Choice for the fourth time he also won the Henry Bartlett Inaugural Peoples’ Choice award.
Gregory has travelled extensively both throughout Australia and overseas (with a special preference for South Pacific Islands), and he has won numerous local and national awards. His work is represented in public, private and civic collections internationally.
Drew Gregory`s Australian Landscapes
A critical review by Frederich Ault, Hong Kong 2007
Gregory`s landscapes leave many viewers astonished by his ability to look so deeply into his subject-matter with so much understanding. Unlike many ‘super-realist’ artists, his work does not rely on photographs, nor is it slick and superficial in technique or content. This artist has had fifty years to hone his considerable skills and develop a wide and innovative range of paint application.
You can always tell when you are looking at a Gregory because nothing is compromised or glossed over. He has an excellent visual memory combined with experience, understanding and infinite patience which enable him to tackle any subject. He is never afraid to create tougher, more demanding assignments for himself, and is no `pot-boiler’ content to rest on his laurels or lazily stay with the tried and proven, but an explorer who pushes himself to the limit.
These canvases possess a distinctive crispness and clarity of vision without sacrificing subtlety or painterly qualities. His technique involves building up layer upon layer of paint using a variety of traditional brushes, controlled spatter using toothbrushes, masking fluids and tape, tinted glazes and other methods too complex to describe here. By using alternate transparent and opaque layers, we can look ‘into’ and ‘through’ the surface rather than ‘at’ it. Herein lies much of his subtlety, which, combined with his highly developed observational skills, creates the ‘wow’ factor’.
Shadow areas contain more interest and information than we would normally expect in an oil painting displaying far more detail than a photograph, since a camera cannot explore these areas as accurately as the human eye. Foregrounds of fine sand, gravel, pebbles, rocks and shrubs are rich in painstakingly rendered detail without becoming muddy or overworked. Gregory exhibits a sound knowledge of the inherent nature of things.
These landscapes are not only readily identifiable by their extremely realistic and ‘gritty’ foregrounds, but also by the artist`s ability to incorporate sky areas as an integral and important part of the overall composition. Skies for many artists can be an after-thought, but Gregory manages to convince us that we are standing in the landscape with the clouds passing over our heads. He is able to do this by using a variety of perspective tricks combined with a thorough knowledge of the structure and composition of clouds and the way light plays upon and through them.
A Gregory landscape invites us to walk into it, become one with the subject-matter and forget where we are for a while. The experience is addictive ….we feel we are actually there. This disciplined painter is at the peak of his powers and absolutely oozes confidence and talent. His mastery of the brush is matched by the obvious love and understanding of all he paints.
Here is an artist without peer in his native country of Australia for this type of realist work. Few artists world-wide have the conviction and courage, stamina and ability to attempt what he does, and few achieve it so brilliantly.
Drew Gregory’s Watercolours
A critical review by Alan Artner, Chicago Tribune Oct 11, 1991
Those who usually associate watercolor landscapes with prettified scenes tossed off with sloppy, vaguely ‘Impressionistic” washes might find that association brought up short by Drew Gregory`s work at J. Rosenthal Gallery.
Gregory takes a more demanding tack, rendering his native Australia in a precise, very nearly photorealist manner.
Each elegantly depicts one or two mostly decrepit buildings standing alone amid these vast dusty spaces. Foreground grasses, sagebrush and rocky soil receive particularly methodical treatment, as the artist applies dense paint in stippled fashion against a field of lighter hues.
Architectural cloud forms possess a density and heft rare for the medium, and tonal variation of clear skies is seamless. There is nothing revolutionary about these works; their craft and clear-sightedness alone inspire. The show continues through Oct. 30 at 230 W.Superior St.