9 X 5 NOW showcases generations of practicing artists who have studied or taught at the National Gallery School or VCA Art. The most experienced artist represented attended the National Gallery School in the 1940s, and the youngest completed studies at the VCA just one year ago.
The exhibition title and concept references the famous ‘9 by 5 Impression Exhibition’ held at the Buxton Rooms, Swanston Street Melbourne in 1889. All seven artists in that exhibition, Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin, Charles Conder, C Douglas Richardson, R.E. Falls and Herbert Daly, were National Gallery School alumni. McCubbin was also a staff member and Louis Abrahams, also a former student, supplied the 9 x 5 inch cedar cigar box lids on which the works were painted. The Victorian College of the Arts is indebted to Lauraine Diggins of Lauraine Diggins Fine Art for facilitating the loan of works by Roberts, Conder and Streeton from the original 1889 exhibition especially for the opening of 9 X 5 NOW.
The work in 9 x 5 NOW is indicative of the significant contribution the 350 eminent alumni and staff have made to art education, the visual arts and the broader cultural landscape of Australia.