Yvonne Audette was born in Sydney in 1930 and, although being a painter all her life, has taken a long time to be recognised for what she is – perhaps Australia’s most dynamic and exciting abstract expressionist.
She says of her style: “It's like music. It starts to all vibrate and become a symphony.”
Audette’s early credentials are exemplary. She studied art under Henry Gibbons, John Passmore and Geoffrey Miller and modelled for photographers Max Dupain and David Moore before setting sail for the US at 22.
She was energised by the new abstract expressionism there, meeting and mixing with the legendary new wave painters of the time, including Mark Rothko, Louise Nevelson and Lee Krasner. While studying in New York she visited Willem de Kooning’s studio and was enamoured with his Women series and its confronting chaos.
Enthused by what she saw, she sank her “whole heart and mind into becoming an abstract artist” and in 1955 travelled to Europe to see what was happening in the genre there. Amongst other things, she became fascinated by graffiti art on the old walls around Rome - scratches and marks with the ghost of a line coming through hundreds of years on.
Audette returned to Australia in the late 60s, but almost disappeared from the art scene, ignored by critics and writers, despite continuing to work and regularly exhibit.
Now, at 80, and still painting daily in her studio near Melbourne, she is enjoying a blossoming renaissance in interest in her works, which are described as international, multicultural, elegant and sophisticated, but never descriptive
“There is,” she says, “a certain point where I just like it. Something tells you, ‘That’s good, don’t touch it again’.”