Remembering Mary Turner

Mary Turner OAM passed away on 19th March 2018. She was 91.

Mary made a significant contribution to the arts, particularly in Orange, prior to relocating to Newcastle about a decade ago. The Orange Regional Gallery Collection was founded on the Mary Turner Collection, which she presented to the City of Orange in 1982. It is thanks to her foresight and generosity that plans to build a regional gallery were progressed—with the award-winning building opening in 1986.

In 2012, Mary donated 100 additional works to the Gallery along with numerous letters from her time as co-director of Macquarie Galleries in Sydney. The letters between Mary and a range of prominent artists including Kevin Connor, Ian Fairweather, Sidney Nolan, Lloyd Rees, Grace Cossington Smith and Roland Wakelin provide a fascinating glimpse into the vital role Mary played in guiding artists’ careers, securing sales, and arranging for their material needs. The letters reveal the artists’ appreciation, and the high regard in which Mary and her co-director Treania Smith were held.

To honour Mary’s contribution, the Gallery will be acquiring this extraordinary photographic portrait of her by Gary Grealy. I look forward to showing this portrait at the Gallery each time we exhibit the Mary Turner Collection. I’m sure you’ll agree that it is a striking and tender image conveying an intriguing mix of strength, frailty, memory and vision.