Ms Ruth Waller

Master of Arts (Art Theory) ANU School of Art
Associate Professor, Head of Painting Workshop
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 61255827

Research interests

  • Questions of materiality and illusionism in painting practice
  • Painting as a territory for exploring interrelations between geology and biology 
  • Pattern and optical effects in painting
  • The nature of the creative process and qualities of knowledge entailed in art practice (the relations of brain,mind & body)
  • The History of Western Painting (with particular knowledge of Early Renaissance panel painting of Siena and Florence)
  • Themes of influence, affinity, variation and re-invention in the history and contemporary practice of painting

Researcher's projects

2017 Creative Partnership with the Australian Botanic Gardens : a new initiative to generate a major exhibition of work made by faculty and research students at the School of Art as an exploration of the plant life, landscape and ecology of the Australian Botanic Gardens, Canberra.  

2013-14 Insight Radical, where science meets art, in association with the ARC Centre for Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry, University of Melbourne; exhibited a series of four paintings at at 3 venues: Griffin Gallery, London; McLemoi Gallery, Sydney; The Science Exchange, Adelaide


Current student projects


Bullen, Leah, (PhD Painting):Practice-led research into the implications ofm the technological mediation of vision & image production on the art of painting.

Chancellor, Susan (MPhil, Painting):An exploration and integration of the relation of drawing to painting, the role of memory and relations between abstraction and figuration.

Tiffany Cole (PhD Painting):Exploring the culture of collecting by bringing together the illusionism of the still life tradition and trompe l'oeil effects within the contemporary field of installation.

David Costello (PhD Painting):How can realist still life painting serve as a vehicle for exploring contemporary issues in painting and visual and material culture? 

Michal Glikson (PhD Painting):Painting, sound and installation across cultures (Australia, India, Pakistan) 

Katherine Hayne (MPhil Painting): Knocking down walls: A creative practice study into the lived experience of public and transient housing communities

Carmen Ky (MPhil Painting):Abstract painting and the intersection betwen figuartion and anstraction with conceptual referencing of the Five Elements.

Emma Langridge (PhD Painting): Exploring the motivations and implications of establishing rules or strictures for the generation of abstract paintings; toil, labour and hardship in practice; and the role of error.

Andrea McCuaig (PhD Painting):Abstract painting and embodied motion

Timothy Price (PhD Painting):A contemporary approach to dealing with narratives of Australian history

Leo Robba (PhD Painting): The Artist's Garden

Ria Vlavianos (PhD Painting):A long sound: translating displaced cultural imagery through painting



Past student projects

Peter Adsett (PhD Painting 2013): Practice-led research to investigate whether horizontality can establish a new set of conventions that enables a ground for a cross-cultural dialogue respecting cultural differences of the indigenous peoples of Australia and New Zealand

Micky Allan (PhD Painting 2013): Liquid Space: a visual investigation of the Sea as an Empirical, experiential and metaphoric space

Julie Brooke (PhD Painting 2012): Thinking Spaces: a practice-led enquiry into representations of memory and thought

Liz Coats (PhD Painting 2012): Organic growth and form in abstract painting

Nicola Dickson (PhD Painting 2010): The influence of natural history illustration and ornamentation on the formation of perceptions of the exotic and uncanny in response to the Australian environment

Suzanne Moss (PhD Painting 2010): Painting light, touching space: investigating how luminosity and the materiality of the surface of paintings create spatial illusions and contribute to the poetics of space.

Therese Kenyon (PhD Painting):Water as culture: fluidity and flooding in process and image

Bodey, Elisabeth, (PhD Painting):Negotiating cross-cultural conversations in painting: How the vocal melodic descent form used in Warlpiri women’s ceremonies, in association with notational structures of western composition, can contribute to the formation of a new abstract visual language in a cross-cultural conversation about place and space in painting.  

Michael Edwards (PhD Painting):The influence of economic conditions on the evolution of still life painting.

Greg Hodge (PhD Painting):Abstraction and Visual Poetics: the Romantic and the Provisional 

Kevin Malloy (PhD Painting):The Constructed Image in Representational Painting

Ella Whateley (PhD Painting):Metaphysical invitation through the language of abstraction




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Updated:  28 September 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers