Words of Carol McCormack, Glenmorgan
I hold Mervyn Moriarty personally responsible for any artistic ability I have today and am eternally grateful. When life seemed to turn away from the artistic goals I held as a child, down came Merv from the skies with his Eastaus Flying Art School.
In 1972 I was a young mother in a remote area of Queensland. I’d grown up in an even more remote spot and was happy and at home in the bush, but like many young mothers I was struggling to preserve some sense of identity among teething woes, infant tantrums, so Merv’s two-day seminars seemed heaven-sent. They provided two days of sacred me time.
Although a city boy born and bred, Merv seemed entirely at home in the bush environment and was accepted with open arms. Art and country are inextricably intertwined, and he wove them together in his own inimitable style.
Congratulations Merv on a lifetime of sharing and teaching with generations of aspiring artists, a unique contribution to our culture.
Words of Sylvia Ditchburn, Townsville
Flying Arts is a wonderful resource founded by Merv that continues today. It is unique in the world and is parallel with the Flying Doctor. Merv recognised the need for country folk to have access to good art tutoring and when he learnt to fly he used to visit regional centres to bring art tutoring to people in isolated communities.
I have fond memories of his workshops when everyone would get together and show what we had done since his last visit. We were all anxious to hear his golden words of wisdom and hope of improvement since the last visit.
Merv introduced us to many things such as plein air painting, tonal values and of course colour (his favourite). His encouragement helped me a great deal and he organised a solo exhibition for me in Brisbane at the then Red Hill Gallery. This was my first foray into showing my work in the 'big smoke'. I was very anxious about the experience but since then I have gone from strength to strength achieving many awards and represented in State and private collections in Australia and overseas.
I have also had formal art training receiving a Diploma in Fine Art, a Graduate Diploma Museum Curatorship and a PhD. I have held over 50 solo shows and received more than 60 art awards. I also have my own boutique gallery in Townsville: Sylvia Ditchburn Fine Art.
Elsie Brimblecombe, Dalby 1959 - 1987 (now lives in Maleny)
My recollections of Mervyn Moriarty are scant but powerful. Although I was not a student of his, I was a member of the Dalby art community in the 1970s when Mervyn flew in. Therefore, he said I was welcome to bring my artwork for appraisal when he visited. I was grateful for his advice and time, which were freely given. Both my mother, Enid Ross, in her seventies, and my daughter Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox, who was eleven or twelve years old at the time, went to Merv’s classes and both benefited greatly from his teaching.
Later, my mother gave me a series of booklets on art practices, which Mervyn put together for his students. They are entitled EASTAUS and are still in my possession.
Mervyn was a very generous man with his spirit, enthusiasm and talent. He enlivened the artists in Dalby not only with the skills and expertise he shared but with his philosophical and intellectual approach to art and life.
There was a blossoming of a deeper understanding and appreciation of art and being an artist was Mervyn started flying into our town. Not only did he improve art practice but he broadened horizons; introduced new ideas; gave people the confidence to be different. He freed us all up and enhanced our lives considerably.
He made a difference in Dalby and I am sure he did everywhere he went.
Words of Glen Henderson, Carina
Glen Henderson is the owner of a Mervyn Moriarty original artwork that will feature in the exhibition
I look forward to the Merv Moriarty retrospective exhibition as a rich and meaningful unfolding of his vision, to track his creative journey but also for the way his work will illuminate the underlying abstraction of the visual world for a new generation of art students.
I believe that Merv Moriarty has been responsible for bringing the principles and practice of visual art to his students throughout Queensland and beyond. I hope and trust that this insight continues to reverberate through the work of his students, and in many instances their teaching.