ACU Curator Caroline Field with Jon Cattapan oil on canvas 'Transported Group No. 1' at the Melbourne Campus.
ACU Curator Caroline Field with Jon Cattapan oil on canvas ‘Transported Group No. 1’ at the Melbourne Campus.

Furthering its commitment to celebrating and sharing art Australian Catholic University (ACU) has appointed Caroline Field as its first curator.

In the newly-created role, Ms Field will be responsible for managing the University’s extensive art collection and documenting, developing and displaying the collection across each of its seven campuses.

“The University is very fortunate to be holding such magnificent treasures and artworks,” Ms Field said.

“We want to use and enliven them and we want to share and promote them with the University community and the general public.”

Previously the Curator and Manager of the Deakin University art collection, Ms Field is a well-known figure in the Australian art community. She has curated more than 20 major exhibitions and is currently writing a book on the history of the Australian Galleries, for which she has been awarded a Creative Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria.

ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven said that he was delighted the University had been able to appoint a curator of Ms Field’s experience and insight.

“It is one of the historic missions of a Catholic university to conserve and share art, and we are very much looking forward to Caroline guiding us in this work,” he said.

Ms Field said while she couldn’t put a number on the amount of items in ACU’s collection at this point, the artworks covered a broad range of styles and mediums.

“Once I’ve catalogued all of the items I’ll then be able to categorise them into sub-groups such as religious art, sacred art, indigenous art, historical art, contemporary art, decorative art, sculpture, paintings and works on paper,” she said.

While she is just beginning to discover the ACU collection, Ms Field said her favourite item so far was a painting by Taddeo di Bartolo called The Virgin Annunciate, which currently hangs in the St Mary of the Cross Chapel at the Melbourne Campus. Painted in the late 14th or early 15th century, the tempera on panel painting features gold ground.

“It’s an absolute jewel of an item and we’re very proud to have it in the collection,” she said.

“I’m honoured to be working at ACU and my hope is to make each and every campus a gallery within its own right and I look forward to introducing the ACU community as well as our regional, national and international audiences to important, and compelling art for many years to come.”

ACU is Australia’s largest Catholic university with campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Ballarat, Adelaide and Rome.