Waratah Lahy

(b. 1974. Sydney, NSW, Australia)

In 2007 Canberra-based artist Waratah Lahy completed her Doctor of Philosophy (Visual Arts) at the Australian National University in Canberra and exhibited for the first time with MAY SPACE (formerly Brenda May Gallery) in the exhibition Small, which has led to regular solo exhibitions with the Gallery. In 2018, Lahy participated in Painting Amongst Other Things at the School of Art & Design Gallery at ANU with a series of magic lantern slides illuminated by small lights. This series informed the direction of her subsequent body of work for her 2019 solo exhibition Hand Held World at MAY SPACE. 2017 saw Lahy produce two solo shows: Everyday at MAY SPACE and Three Hundred and Sixty Six at Canberra Contemporary Art Space. These shows featured cropped images of lush outdoor spaces, glowing night time scenes and twisted branches extending across the support. Following these exhibitions the series entered the collection of the University of Canberra Hospital: Specialist Centre for Rehabilitation where it is on permanent display.  

Obtaining the ANU University medal for her first class Honours Bachelor of Arts degree, Lahy has since undergone residencies at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, awarded by the Australia Council for the Arts (2012), the Megalo Print Studio (2011), and Schloss Haldenstein in Haldenstein, Switzerland (2005). Lahy has also participated in an exchange to the Faculty of Fine Arts at Chiang Mai University in Thailand in 1997, and in 2015 was granted Arts ACT project funding. In 2017 she won the Visual Arts section of the Canberra Critics’ Circle Award whilst in 2018 she has won the M16 Art Space Drawing Award as well as being selected as a finalist in the Grace Cossington Smith Art Award and the Splash McClelland Contemporary Watercolour Award.

Lahy has produced a varied collection of works, all pertaining to a common interrogation of the way in which we perceive the world. In 2008 Lahy painted night-time scenes inside varied household glasses, utilising the convex nature of the glass to allow these miniature scenes of intimate moments, often peered through windows, to bulge from their surfaces. Lahy has also presented scenes of people viewing artworks or taking photographs, removing the object of their gaze, as to transform the observer into the observed; painted the discolourations of old photographs; and has investigated the overlooked via rendering aerial or curious viewpoints that contain distortions or obstructions. Lahy’s 2015 exhibition, Not far from the truth, saw her increase the scale of her paintings and enter the collection of the Canberra Museum + Gallery, ACT. Lahy has also been acquired by Artbank, the Parliament House Art Collection in Canberra, the Gold Coast Regional Gallery in QLD, Goulburn Regional Gallery in NSW, Schloss Haldenstein in Switzerland, the Arthur Boyd Bundanon Trust and private collections in Australia and the USA.