Artists / Collection highlights / Philanthropists and Collections

Philanthropist and Collector Michael Rayner AM

Michael Rayner AM, with UQ Art Museum Volunteers Hilary Thurlow (Digital Communications) and April Euler (Registration)
Photo: Simon Woods

Michael Rayner is one of Queensland’s leading architects. Principal of Blight Rayner Architecture, he’s designed many of the State’s most renowned public buildings, and has won several international design awards. Michael is an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at The University of Queensland, a member of UQ’s Strategic Development Council, and the inaugural Chair of the Griffith University Architecture Advisory Board. Michael is also a passionate art collector and generous donor.

In 2014 architect Michael donated 90 artworks to The University of Queensland. This major gift comprises works by 33 artists, many of whom have made a substantial contribution to the visual arts in Australia, and included two artworks by Madonna Staunton: Subterfuge (2010) and Word (2010).

Discussing his interest in Madonna Staunton’s work and his decision to donate these assemblages to The University of Queensland, architect Michael Rayner AM wrote recently:

I’ve known Madonna since about 2005 when she made a series of works for the Ipswich Courts my architectural practice designed … Her ‘literary’ works intrigue me as to the association of the found objects with the word(s).

I have several works still in my collection, but donated these as they are ‘classic’ Madonna and I felt them worthy of good public collection.

Of his decision to donate to the Collection, Rayner has explained:

I’ve been an Adjunct Professor in Architecture at UQ since 2000. Although I do many things for the School in this role, I see my donation in some way as reinforcing my sense of belonging … my hope [is] that UQ will be able to put some of the artwork into curated shows with other artworks by similar artists or within cohesive themes.

About Madonna Staunton

Over a long and significant career, Madonna Staunton has established herself as an artist whose practice is both deeply personal and engaged with experimental art. Staunton was born in 1938 in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, but has spent most of her life in Brisbane. From the age of 10, she was taught colour theory by her mother, the poet Madge Staunton. Through this experience, Staunton developed a preoccupation with colour that is evident in her painted works, and in the assemblages for which she later became known.[i]


Philanthropists and Collections, which features Subterfuge (2010) and Word (2010), is showing at UQ Art Museum until 4 June 2017.

[i] Bronwyn Watson, “Delving into the depths of Madonna Staunton’s anxiety,” The Australian, 4 October 2014,


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