Current Exhibition

40 Dodds Street
 Southbank VIC 3006 Map

Gallery Hours

Tuesday - Saturday

12pm - 5pm

T: +61 3 9035 9400

Wheelchair accessible - Admission is free


‘Presence’ demonstrates the ways in which issues around spirituality, the sublime, romanticism, impressionism, minimalism and surrealism are manifested in depictions of the Australian landscape. The exhibition comprises of two components. The first component is indigenous artist Michael Riley’s film Empire. The second component is a suite of 7 small Australian landscape paintings from the 1860s to the present. This suite includes paintings by Eugene Von Guerard, Frederic McCubbin, Fred Williams, Clarice Beckett, Louise Hearman and Rick Amor.


Michael Riley’s Empire encompasses visions of the landscape and the effects of missions and Christianity on Aboriginal culture in country Australia. A visual essay accompanied by a grand and evocative musical score by composer Antony Partos and the Tasmania Symphony Orchestra, Empire is an ode to both the expansiveness and minutiae of Australian landscape. Set amongst works by some of the VCA's most distinguished alumni, Riley's film is a potent reminder of an Indigenous understanding of landscape existing centuries before the VCA's 150 year history.

Image: Frederick McCubbin, At Macedon, 1913. oil on Canvas courtesy Wilbow Collection

The Margaret Lawrence Gallery is a contemporary art space located in the heart of Melbourne’s arts precinct. It was established in 2001 to provide crucial links between the VCA School of Art and the University of Melbourne (with its community of academics, artists and students), the wider communities of Victoria and on a national platform.


The gallery performs an integral and generative function within the VCA artistic community and is a showcase for new work, playing an educational role for the Victorian and Australian community.

The gallery offers established practitioners an opportunity to create new work in a supported and critically engaged environment. It also encourages meaningful connections and exchanges between professional artists, academics, students and the wider public.

The program focuses on new work by local, national and international artists. Exhibitions are presented in an environment that fosters critical discussion, as well as an understanding and promotion of visual art and its broader social contexts, with accompanying forums, artist and curator talks, residencies and public lectures. The exhibition program has a strong emphasis on research, developed by directly responding to exhibition proposals, and by inviting artists, curators or groups whose work or research is of particular contemporary relevance to devise a project for the space.

The program is determined 12 to 18 months in advance to allow a reasonable period of exhibition development in discussion with gallery staff. Application proposals may be submitted to the Director at any time.

The gallery is also responsible for the care and management of the VCA Art Collection, which spans the history of the College and its predecessor, the National Gallery School of Art and the Margaret Lawrence Australian Ceramic Collection.

The Margaret Lawrence Gallery is generously supported by the Margaret Lawrence Bequest.


Director: David Sequeira

Gallery Coordinator: Nicholas Pearce

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