Blair McNamara is a painter, a photographer, a musician and a surfer.
The ocean is his arena of meaning. His art is highly respected and awarded as a unique translation of Australian beach culture. As a strong component of the Queensland visual arts scene, he skillfully and appropriately captures much of the cultural and environmental conundrums that have developed over the years in this vulnerable Sunshine Coast paradise. His unique ability to speak clearly and directly to a wide audience, not necessarily all conversant with the visual arts, enriches our community.
As a visual artist, his career includes gallery paintings, local, international and touring exhibitions, residencies, public tutorials and numerous public art commissions. Many of Blair’s most significant paintings, photographs and murals are in corporate, private and public collections.
The Art Of Blair McNamara
by Australian architect, John Mainwaring 2012. www.jma-arch.com
Blair McNamara was an accomplished artist and draftsman as soon as he could hold a pencil. He showed me recently, a river scene work he painted of a man fishing near a jetty at Cotton Tree when he was barely a teenager. The work reminded me of the great European painter Vlaminck.
He attended art school at the Seven Hills’ Queensland College of Art in the late 70’s and early 80’s under such luminaries as impressionist painter, John Rigby and expressionist painter Ian Smith. Here, pure artistic talent was embellished not only with various techniques but philosophically as well.
He excelled in photography and artistry of different ways of painting and drawing. More importantly, he developed a framework for innovation – whether it be for abstraction, technique, presentation or realism. He is not just a ‘decorator’, but embraces cultural authenticity and comments on both the sense and spirituality of people and place. Whether it is his Arkleyesque townscapes, ethnic abstractions of seascapes, landscapes and sky-scapes. Some works are social and historical commentaries.
Blair is an artist in the true sense of the word as he records events in nature and human settlement often embracing the interaction of both. He has exhibited interstate as well as in Hong Kong, the United States, Europe and South America.
Other creative endeavours include playing music and story-telling and he has a deep understanding of, and values for, historical built fabric… particularly memories such as the ephemeral Somers’ Family Fare Store which was engrained in all of our minds and formed part of the ocean and surf culture in the 70’s and 80’s.
His works such as the interior views of the bohemian café, ‘Cocos’ at the gates of Noosa National Park, are great records of a culture that laid a basis for a Sunshine Coast that has developed a distinguished point of difference to other destinations along the east Australian seaboard.
Some works make references to indigenous cultures from Australia, the Archipelago and various Pacific countries. Blair is a true Antipodean artist and we are all blessed he has chosen this place to live and work. We are lucky that he grew up in a family in a wonderful, yet simple architectural environment that gave him integrity and passion.
Fine Art graduate 1981, Queensland College of Art, Seven Hills
2016 Niyama Per Aquum Resort, Maldives
2015 “Aqualinea”, Patio, Noosaville & Bundall, Gold Coast, Qld.
2014 “Timber Tides & Time”, Christine’s Gallery, South West Harbor, ME, USA
– “Oceanica”, Patio, Noosaville, Qld.
– Noosa Art Series, Trentham Wines labels, CoolArt Gallery, Coolum Beach
– “Fibro Coast”: Gold Coast City Gallery 15 Feb – 23, USC Gallery 12 June – 16 August, Qld.
2013 Ten Mile Beach Holiday Studio, Coolum Beach, Qld.
2012 Kart Space Gallery, Peregian Beach, Qld.
2009 “Surf Skate Punk” Beachouse Gallery, Kingscliffe, N.S.W.
2008 “Oceanica Semantica”, S.O.T.A. Gallery, Hong Kong
2005 “Coodabin/Shoodabin”, USC Gallery, Qld.
2002 “Emocean”, CoolArt Gallery, Coolum, Qld.
2003 “Recent Works”, Fox Gallery, Brisbane City, Qld.
1998 “South American Works”, CoolArt, Coolum Beach, Qld.
1996 “Seascapes” Noosa Sheraton, Noosa, Qld.
1995 “Aqueous”, Noosa Regional Gallery, Tewantin, Qld.
1994 “Outside the Blue & White Flags”, Buderim House Gallery, Buderim, Qld.
1993 “America’s Cup – Australian Art”, Spinaker Gallery, San Diego, USA
1992 Coco’s, Noosa National Park, Noosaville, Qld.
1991 Gold Coast Fine Arts, Bundall, Gold Coast City, Qld.
1990 Michael Milburn Gallery, New Farm, Brisbane, Qld.
1988 Katz Wizka, Coolum Beach, Qld.
1985 Cintra Galleries, Milton, Brisbane, Qld.
Artemisia Gallery, Chelsea, New York
Christine’s Gallery, Maine, U.S.A.
S-O-T-A Gallery, Hong Kong
Artemis, South Yarra, Melbourne
Ten Mile Beach Gallery, Coolum, Qld.
CoolArt, Coolum Beach, Qld.
University Sunshine Coast Art Gallery, Qld.
KartSpace, Peregian Beach, Qld.
(past 25 years)
Hofficina d’Arte Gallery, Rome, Italy
Percolator Gallery, Paddington, Qld.
Fox Galleries, Brisbane, Qld.
Sandra Walters Art Consultancy, Hong Kong
Pivotal Gallery, Richmond, Victoria
Art Collections, Surfers Paradise, Qld.
Beachouse Gallery, Kingscliffe, N.S.W.
Eumundi Gallery, Eumundi, Qld.
Moda Gallery, Paddington, N.S.W.
Buderim House Gallery, Buderim, Qld.
Bridges Gallery, Katoomba, N.S.W.
Dakota Center Gallery, Fort Lauderdale
Spinnaker Gallery, San Diego
Montville Galleries, Noosa, Qld.
Gold Coast Fine Arts, Bundall, Qld.
Coco’s, Noosa National Park, Qld.
Michael Milburn Gallery, Brisbane, Qld.
Sandbag, Noosa, Qld.
Awards & Public Art Commissions
2014 Matthew Flinders Anglican College, mural
2013 University of Sunshine Coast, photography acquisitions
2013 Sunshine Coast Council murals
2012 Bendigo Bank, Marcoola Traders Assoc. mural
2008 Sunshine Coast Art Prize finalist
2006 Sunshine Coast Art Prize finalist
2005 R.A.D.F. art grant recipient
2004 Noosa Regional Gallery Art Prize first prize
1999 Gloria Hotels, Bolivia, mural
– Fitzgibbon Hotels, Brisbane, mural
1998 Peruana-Americana Institute, Peru, mural
1997 Cairns Domestic Airport Terminal mural
1995 Tourism Noosa cover art
1994 Vic.Council of Adult Ed. cover art
– Noosa Arts Festival poster art
1993 Noosa Arts Festival poster art
1991 Twin Waters Resort mural
1989 Tourism Queensland mural
1988 World Expo ’88 French Pavilion first prize
1987 Coolum State High School, mural
1986 Yoga manual publication illustrations
1985 Lightning-Bolt surfwear fabric & screen art
1984 BTQ 9 TV Production scene art murals
1983 Qld. Supreme Court Building mural
Corporate, Private and Public Collections
Park Lane Hotel, Hong Kong
Marriott Hotel, Hong Kong
Marriott Hotel, Surfers Paradise
Conrad Jupiters Casino, Gold Coast
Bundaberg Historical Museum, Qld.
Cairns Domestic Airport, Qld.
Wasserman & Wise, New York
Sunshine Coast Council, Corporate Collection
Coolum Beach Library, Qld.
University of the Sunshine Coast Collection
The Qld. Supreme Court, Brisbane
Victorian College of Adult Education
Centro Cultural Peruano Norte Americano, Peru
Abused Child Trust, Brisbane
Redeemer Lutheran College, Rochedale
Somerset College, Mudgeeraba
Good Shepherd College, Noosaville
2016 Niyama Per Aquum Resort, Maldives
2010 Luther Heights Combined Schools Youth Camp, Coolum
2009 Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, Bundaberg
2007 Mountain Creek State High School, Sunshine Coast
2006 Couran Cove Island Resort, Gold Coast
– Writers Artists Readers Month, Sunshine Coast
– Coolum Beach Primary School, Sunshine Coast
2005 Noosa Regional Gallery, Sunshine Coast
2002 Creative Juice Combined Schools Art Camp, Sunshine Coast
2000 Sydney Town Hall Restoration Program, Sydney
1999 Gloria Hotels, La Paz, Bolivia
1998 Peruana Americana Institute, Arequipa, Peru
1994 Sunshine Beach State High School, Sunshine Coast
1992 Creative Arts Centre, Hyatt Regency Coolum, Sunshine Coast
1989 Coolum Beach State High School, Sunshine Coast
1988 World Expo 88, French Pavilion, Brisbane
1987 Maleny Folk Festival, Sunshine Coast
1986 Creative Juice Combined Schools Art Camp, Sunshine Coast
1985 Maleny State High School, Sunshine Coast
Public Speaking / Tutorials / Floor Talks
2014 Caloundra Regional Gallery, Arts Debate
– Mountain Creek State High School
– ABC Coast FM, Sunshine/Cooloola Coasts
2013 Sunshine Coast Architecture Awards, M.C.
2011 Coolum Focus Group, S.C.Council initiatives
2010 Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, floor-talk
– ABC Cooloola/Sunshine Coast FM
2009 Indigenous Well-Being Center, Bundaberg (for EDGEware)
– Bundaberg Region – State, Primary and Private Schools
– Zinc Radio, Wide Bay
– ABC Wide Bay FM
2008 Sunshine Coast Environment Awards, M.C.
– ABC Cooloola Sunshine Coast Coast FM
2007 Australasian-Pacific Urban Planning Conference, U.S.C. Social Sciences Dept.
– War Widows Guild, Maroochy R.S.L.
2006 World Architecture Day Forum, University Sunshine Coast
– Australian Seachange Taskforce Conference, Port Douglas
– Maroochy Legacy Sub Branch, Maroochy R.S.L.
2005 University Sunshine Coast Art Gallery, floor-talks
– ABC Cooloola / Sunshine Coast, Coast FM
2004 Coolum Integrated Land Use & Traffic Study Board Member
– Combined S.C. Schools Minister’s Excellence In Art Awards, Panel Judge
2000 Centro Cultural Peruano Norte Americano, Peru
1998 La Paz Language School, Bolivia
1995 Noosa Regional Gallery, floor-talk
1993 Saint John’s College, Nambour, presenter
1986 Nambour State High, tutorial
Bibliography 1981- 2015
Stateline Qld., ABC television
Weekender, BTQ 9 television
Channel 7 News
Winn Television News
ABC Coast FM Wide Bay
ABC Coast FM, Sunshine & Cooloola Coasts
ABC Coast FM, Gold Coast
ABC 6.12 4QR Radio, Brisbane
Vogue Living Australia, Magazine
Art & Design Australia, Magazine
Surf News Europe, Magazine
Resort Life Australia, Magazine
Noosa Blue, Magazine
Vic. C.A.E. Magazine
Time-Off Magazine, Qld.
The Courier Mail
The Sunday Mail
The Sydney Morning Herald
Sing Tao Daily, Hong Kong
Sunshine Coast Daily Newspapers
News Mail, Bundaberg
The Gold Coast Bulletin
Quest Newspapers, Brisbane
City News, Brisbane
The Coolum Advertiser
Unique in and outdoor art workshops that provide a range of hands-on art activities for art festivals, conference groups, holiday resorts, educational facilities and retirees.
Paintings may be commissioned. As the collector, enjoy the opportunity to communicate your favorite themes, genres or styles of my art for your space. The final concept is arrived at through a creative process of negotiation and I reserve the right to decline a proposal. A deposit of 40% is required on commission’s commencement and balance due on completion. Freight of completed artwork to anywhere world-wide is incurred by the consigner.
I enjoy community development and welcome you or your committee to involve me as a creative consultant to deliver artistic vision to your project or event. For three decades I have been a member of various community steering committees that generate public strategies and public art projects. I can identify and develop your next community project or event. ‘Urban-feng-shui’, your town’s entry statement, roadside treatments, parkland enhancements, sculptural playgrounds, public lighting, art exhibitions or your local festival must reflect what is great about your place.
Public Art Projects
I continue to develop a colorful range of affiliations & friendships with other artists as well as gallery owners, arts organizations & educational facilities around the world. Associates, designers, fabricators and qualified tradesman are available to me as well as good access to studio/workshop space.
Your university, school, public library, corporation, personal development group, retirement village, private institution, community group or festival may be especially interested in having me present a tutorial, art workshop or an electronic presentation of my work. In 2005, my timely coodabin/shoodabin (“Could Have Been, Should Have Been”) solo exhibition about the impacts of seachange on hometown Coolum Beach was staged at University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery. The exhibition drew record attendances and much media attention. Scholars of cultural mapping, urban planning, social studies, local history or Australian architecture may wish to include “Coodabin Shoodabin” into their forum discussion as a presentation.
All enquiries welcome.