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Paramor, Wendy (1938–1975)

by Paul McGillick

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

Wendy Paramor (1938-1975), artist, was born on 12 December 1938 in East Melbourne, daughter of Victorian-born parents John Weston Paramor, company representative, and his wife Lillian Clarice, née Walker. Wendy was aged 5 when the family moved to Sydney. She attended Sydney Church of England Grammar School for Girls, Redlands, Cremorne, and Wenona School, North Sydney, but left at 15 wanting to be an artist. At the insistence of her father she completed a secretarial course before studying art at East Sydney Technical College and the Julian Ashton School. In 1960 she left for Europe. She remained abroad for three years, based for much of the time in the south of France. In Portugal for three months on a grant from the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, she held solo exhibitions in Lisbon, and at Coimbra and Oporto. She also showed in London and New York.

Returning to Sydney in 1963, Paramor exhibited in group shows with the Contemporary Art Society of Australia (Victoria and New South Wales), and at the Dominion, Barry Stern and Blaxland galleries in Sydney. Her first solo show was held at the Watters Gallery in 1965. Later that year some of her paintings and drawings were displayed at the Bognar Gallery, Los Angeles, United States of America. She joined Central Street Gallery, Sydney, in 1966, confirming that she had moved decisively away from landscape-based work to 'hard-edge', geometric abstraction. From 1966 she lived at West Hoxton, a rural area outside Liverpool, where Philip Cox, a leading architect, designed her house which was built into the ground. In October 1967 her son Luke was born; she never married his father, the painter Vernon Treweeke.

Although Paramor had two sculptures included in The Field exhibition for the opening of the National Gallery of Victoria's new building in 1968, her solo exhibitions at Central Street were neither critically nor commercially successful. Distressed by her apparent failure, she produced very little, apart from paintings for the 'International Young Contemporaries' in Tokyo in 1969. This hiatus was not helped by raising a baby in the relative isolation of West Hoxton. When she resumed work it was with experimental sculpture: her pieces were included in the Mildura Sculpture Triennial exhibitions (1970 and 1973) and the Sculpture Competition, Marland House, Melbourne (1971).

In late 1973 Paramor was diagnosed as suffering from a cerebral tumour. Galvanized into painting again, she returned to figurative and semi-figurative work—still lifes, landscapes and some portraiture—and made plans for a large-scale metal sculpture exhibition. She died on 28 November 1975 at the Wolper Jewish Hospital, Woollahra, Sydney, and was cremated; her son survived her. Remembered by artists of her generation for the vivacity of her personality and the originality of her art, she was independent, warm and generous, despite her limited means. Since her death, her paintings and sculptures have been exhibited from time to time. They are held in collections in Britain, the United States of America, Portugal, France, Italy and Australia.

Select Bibliography

  • Other Voices, Aug-Sept 1970, p 17
  • Art and Australia, 14, no 1, July-Sept 1976, p 35
  • Sun (Sydney), 21 Nov 1961, 30 June 1965
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Nov 1963, 1 July 1965
  • private information.

Citation details

Paul McGillick, 'Paramor, Wendy (1938–1975)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/paramor-wendy-11337/text20247, published in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 31 August 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

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