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Ted May - Artist

The paintings of Ted May bridge many historical classifications  but they transcend any  contemporary taxonomic interpretation. His study at East Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School in Sydney, Australia) in the early 1960s coincided with a time when  Australian art was undergoing a shift; modernism had held strongly for two decades and abstract expressionism from the New York scene was starting to have an influence.                            

Some artists rejected these new ideas, and May’s formative years in this period were undoubtedly shaped by the discourse, but he and some of his Australian counterparts rejected the developing trends and concentrated on developing a style of painting that was unique and idiosyncratic.

While the lines of expressionism and the intellectual minimalism of abstraction are evident throughout May’s oeuvre, his signature ‘drawings with paint’ have remained resolute for 50 years. Unweighted by trends, they express an artistic freedom which has evolved through decades of faithful studio practice.             

Marita Smith, Gallery Director,

Name: Ted May
Qualifications: Diploma of Fine Art National Art School, Sydney
Occupation: Full time artist – painter, draughtsman and soft sculptor
Previously: Lectured at the VCA, RMIT, & Monash University Caulfield Campus, Melbourne and the National Art Schools, Sydney & Newcastle, NSW.


Art Prize Exhibitions

2021 Shortlisted Sulman Art Prize Art Gallery of NSW
2014 Shortlisted Black Swan Portrait Prize Perth WA
2014 Shortlisted Benalla Nude Prize Benalla Art Gallery, Vic
2012 Shortlisted Geelong Contemporary Art Prize Geelong Gallery, Vic
2012 Shortlisted Percival Xstrata Portrait Prize Perc Tucker, Townsville Qld
2011 By Invitation Kedumba Drawing Prize Wentworth Falls, NSW
2010 Awarded X Strata Portrait Prize Perc Tucker, Townsville Qld
2009 Shortlisted Gallipoli Memorial Art Prize Gallipoli Club, Sydney, NSW
2009 Shortlisted Sulman Art Prize Art Gallery NSW
2008 Shortlisted JADA Drawing Prize Grafton, NSW
2008 Shortlisted Robert Jacks Drawing Prize Bendigo Art Gallery, Vic
2007 Shortlisted ANL Maritime Art Prize Melbourne, Vic
2007 Shortlisted Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize Museum of SA, SA
2007 Shortlisted Dominique Segan Drawing Prize Castlemaine, Vic
2006 Awarded ANL Maritime Art Prize Melbourne, Vic
2006 Shortlisted Doug Moran National Portrait Prize State Library NSW
2002 Shortlisted Dobell Art Prize Art Gallery NSW
1997 Shortlisted Sulman Art Prize Art Gallery NSW
1996 Shortlisted Wynne Art Prize Art Gallery NSW
1986 Awarded Gold Coast Art Prize Gold Coast, Qld
1967 Awarded Maitland Prize (Abstract Painting) Maitland, NSW
1966 Awarded Maitland Prize (Figurative Painting) Maitland, NSW

Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions

2020 Art UK Shakespeare Week Portraits Exhibition
2019 Bendigo Art Gallery: The Paul Guest Collection Group Exhibition
2015 Sydney Contemporary / Gallerysmith
2015 Gallerysmith, Melbourne: Wundergarten
2013 Melbourne University: Festival of Ideas Group Exhibition
2013 Gallerysmith, Melbourne: Pentimenti
2012 Gallerysmith, Melbourne: Tomb Raider
2011 Light Factory Gallery, Eltham: Drawings and master classes
2010 Perc Tucker Gallery, Townsville: The Forlorn Hope Series
2010 Gallerysmith, Melbourne:  Wild Things
2009 JADA Drawing Prize Touring Exhibition (2009 & 2010) Group Exhibition
2009 Ballarat Art Gallery: Eureka Translated
2009 Ballarat Art Gallery : Reclaiming Group Exhibition
2008 Benalla Regional Art Gallery : Face of Shakespeare
2008 Ballarat Art Gallery : The Forlorn Hope Series
2007 John Paynter Gallery @ The Lockup, Newcastle: Face of Shakespeare
2007 Tsai-Mo Arts Festival, Taiwan: International Group Exhibition
2006 Michael Commerford Galleries, Sydney: Drawings
2006 VIII World Shakespeare Congress, Brisbane: Face of Shakespeare
2005 John Miller Galleries, Newcastle: Figurative Works
2005 Shakespeare Festival, Melbourne: Face of Shakespeare
2002 Studio / Warehouse, Melbourne: A Return to the Figure
2000 M.A.C. Gallery, Melbourne
1996 Peter Gant Fine Art, Melbourne
1992 Solander Gallery, Canberra
1990 Kim Bonython Gallery, Sydney
1987 Robin Gibson Gallery, Sydney
1986 Barberino val D’Elsa, Florence, Italy
1985 Niagara Gallery, Melbourne
1984 Rudy Komon Gallery, Sydney (Group)
1983 Heide Museum of Modern Art – Figures & Faces Drawn from Life (Group)


  National Gallery of Victoria
  Heide Museum of Modern Art MOMA, Melbourne, VIC
  Ballarat Art Gallery, VIC
  Owen Dixo Chambers, Melbourne VIC
  Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville QLD
  Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford upon Avon UK
  Chartwell Collection, Aukland Art Gallery, NZ
  Australian Embassy Saudi Arabia
  Peter McCallum Cancer Clinic, Melbourne VIC
  ANL, Melbourne
  Melbourne, La Trobe, RMIT, & Victoria Universities, VIC
  Conrad Jupiter Casino, QLD
  Hilton Hotel, Perth WA
  Western Australia Institute Technology, WA

Selected Biographical References

Where They Purr inspirational interiors and the cats who call them home - Arthur: Paul Barbera with Queenie Chan - Publisher: Thames Hudson - 2021 

The Paul Guest Collection - Publisher: Bendigo Art Gallery - 2019

Ted May and “The Forlorn Hope” with excerpts from the journal of J P Stow - Editor: Anna Monument - 2008

The New McCulloch’s Encyclopedia of Australian Art - Publisher: Miegunyah Press - 2006

International Tsai - Mo Art Festival -  Publisher: Taichung Cultural Affairs Bureau. Taiwan – 2005, 2006, 2007

The Human Face is the Landscape of the Viewers' and Artist's Mind - Yenobek No.5 - 95.  U.S.S.R. - 1995

Profiles in Contemporary Australian Art - New Art Four. Publisher: Craftsman House - 1990

Artists and Galleries of Australia - Volumes 1 and 2.  3rd Edition.  Max Germaine, Publisher: Craftsmen Press - 1990

Drawn from Life. Figures and Faces.  Editor: Elizabeth Cross, Publisher: Heide Park & Art Gallery – 1983

Ted May

Australian Artist

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