Portraits - Irene Crusca

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Irene Crusca’s painting is influenced by her Italian background including an upbringing nurtured by Italian opera. Dramatic, restless movement as well as a love of chiaroscuro recur constantly in her work. The portraits are not only a focus on the physical exterior of her subject; the restless and lively motion of the brushstrokes permeates both the figure and the enveloping space. Irene’s recurring personal interest in the tensions of space and emotions merge and the portrait is born and develops in unpredictable ways.

One of the highlights of her career was being awarded an Italian Government Scholarship to pursue a year of study in fine art at L’Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan. Irene has also held residencies at the Gasworks Community Arts Village and at Chisholm College, La Trobe University, Bundoora. Her work is represented in the Chisholm College art collection, La Trobe University and the Victoria University Art Collection.

Irene has taught both theory and creative practice at a tertiary level at the University of Melbourne, Photography Studies College, Southbank, as well as more practical instruction on a community basis through the Gasworks Community Arts Village, Mulgrave Neighbourhood House, Clayton Arts Council, and Box Hill Tafe since 1989.

Due to her interest in the relationship between space/place and the figure she prefers to paint full-size portraits which enable a greater descriptive and symbolic space around the subject. She welcomes costume and any idiosyncratic objects or adornments which permit further insight into the sitter’s character and emotions.


2001-2003 University of Melbourne, School of Creative Arts, Carlton, Masters of Creative Arts by Research 

2000 University of Melbourne, Victorian College of the Arts, Southbank. Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art

1989-1990  L’Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera - Milan, Italy. One year of studies completed of 4 year Diploma in Fine Arts

1989  Hawthorn Institute of Education - Hawthorn, Graduate Diploma of Education

1982-1984 Victoria College - Prahran Campus, Prahran, Bachelor of Art (Fine Art) degree, Major in Painting.


Dec 2009 Victoria University Staff Show, Victoria University, Footscray Campus

Oct 2008 The Art of Healing, Portrait Artists Australia, Arthouse Hotel, Sydney

Oct 2000 Journey into Eccentricity, Victortian College of the Arts, Montsalvat

Aug 1997 La Casa Del Amore, Dairing Gallery, Richmond

Dec 1992 Paintings and Drawings, Sue Wellington and Irene Crusca, The Malthouse Gallery, South Melbourne

Sep 1988 Spoleto Fringe Festival, Gasworks Gallery, Albert Park

Jun 1988 Gasworks’ Artists Exhibition, Gasworks Gallery, Albert Park

Oct 1987 Paintings by Irene Crusca , Chisholm College Art Gallery, La Trobe University. 

Sep 1988 La Spoleta-Five women Artists: Irene Crusca, Paintings and Works on paper, Spoleto Fringe Festival, Fairfield Gallery, Fairfield

Nov 1985 Ceramic Sculpture by Sarina Lirosi and Paintings by Irene Crusca, Commonwealth Bank, Lygon Street, Carlton