Like the women in her images, Proctor followed two somewhat contradictory paths: that of advancing the cause of the modern woman and that of escape into an imaginary life. She was tall, stately, dignified and exquisitely groomed – a model of style and stylishness who lived her life as artistically as her art. She knew about the latest fashions, but preferred to design her own idiosyncratic clothes that expressed her individual style. Nonetheless, she promoted contemporary art and championed modern interior design, clothes and motor cars. She made a concerted effort to expand the aesthetic awareness of the Australian public, by promoting art as having an integral place in, and positive influence on, modern life.
Stunting (The aeroplane), is one of several lithographs Thea Proctor produced in London in 1910–20. She portrayed women with slim boyish figures dressed in fashionable pyjama-suits and modish dresses, paying homage to modern machines, the aeroplane and the searchlight. They are women of the world, aware of the latest advances.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002