Smoke, farmhouses and running dog
Water & light

Born Melbourne, Australia 1927, arrived Perugia, Italy 1977


During the 1940s Ken Whisson studied painting at Swinburne Institute of Technology, and later with the expressionist, Danila Vassilieff. Whisson’s organic abstract mark-making evokes the ethereal presence of human forms, environments and experiences. Since the 1960s his figurative expressionist works have at times become increasingly abstracted, as in Water & light (1999). His loosely described scenes and narratives hover somewhere between experience and memory.

Since 1977 Whisson has lived in Perugia, Italy, but has maintained a presence in Australia, exhibiting regularly in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. In 1979 Whisson was awarded the John McCaughey Memorial Art Prize, and in 1987 he received the Visual Art Board Emeritis Award for his substantial contribution to Australian art. Broken Hill Regional Gallery held a retrospective of his work the same year, and since then Whisson has been included in many group and survey exhibitions including: The Great Australian Art Exhibition 1788–1988, Art Gallery of South Australia and touring all state galleries (1988–89); On the Road, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (1999); Unpacked, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2003); Home sweet home, National Gallery of Australia (2004) and Aerial View, Hayward Gallery, London (2005).

His work is represented in all major Australian public collections as well as the British Museum, London and the Chartwell Collection, New Zealand.