Week Seven of Sacred Australia with the group of students at Vincentian Village (now temporarily relocated to Charles O’Neill) brought us to the NSW Art Gallery where we explored images of the Sacred in Australian painting across 2 centuries… It was a wonderful animated group that provided many insights into the paintings. Here, at the conclusion of the tour is a huddle of the group animatedly dissecting the Brett Whitley painting of Sydney Harbour:
There is Tania in the middle illustrating vigorously to Johannes on the right and Anissa on the left how the centre line of the painting is the point of balance of this whole amazing work… a work which depicts something of Whitely’s immersion (physical, spiritual) in the environments around him. And thank you Kevin Klehr from ABC Broadcasting who again made it along to be part of our party….
Now I am going to gradually post up several of the key pictures we stopped at. If you want to use any of these images in YOUR livejournal (if for example you want to write some comment about any one of these paintings)… then it is easy peasy to copy it from my journal into yours. How? You simply click on the picture itself (in my journal). You will then notice that the URL (in the top line of the computer screen (the line beginning http://….) changes as you click on the picture. This IS the URL of this picture (which I have stored in my LiveJournal scrapbook). So you copy this URL and paste it into your LiveJournal wherever you want it. But not carefully one thing: if the URL has a / at the end of it, then delete this / . Why? because if you don’t your LJ won’t know where to look for the image…. try it and see what happens and let me know how you go… it is actually dead easy….
So I am now going to post up a few more images that we studied today…. more will go up on Wednesday….
Here are some of the Aboriginal works we explored together:
Here is a naive painting by an Aboringal artist whose name escapes me (can you help… think it was Abdulla????) This painting caught everyone’s attention in its expression of a simple, edenic life-style.
Here are two paintings by Ginger Riley. You will find a short obituary for Ginger Riley here http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/09/02/1030953437224.html – and there is lots more information in Google.
Gordon Bennet’s “Myth of the Western Man (White Man’s Burden) 1992.
This next one is Robert Campbells 1991 Macleay Massacre of the Blacks:
We also discovered an extraordinary, explicitly religious painting (with Hindu and/or Buddhist icons) set on a pointilist background looking very much like contemporary Aboriginal art. The artist: Tim Johnson… who indeed is an Aboriginal artist and you can find more about him in the Art and Australia quarterly, Vol 29, No. 1, Spring 1991 where he is interviewed. You should be able to find this journal in the Art Gallery Library or the State Library. Here is the painting- called “Visualisation”- BY THE WAY IF YOU CLICK ON ANY OF THESE PAINTINGS THREE TIMES THEY OPEN OUT INTO A LARGER VIEW….
If you scroll down to my LiveJournal entry for September 18th you can also see there a picture of Lin Onus’ wonderful “Hills Hoist””….. so go there to have a look at what we pondered on today.
As we wandered back up stairs to the nineteenth century halls we caught a glimpse of this Imants Tillers work “One, Two, Three” which is a kind of copy of a famous 19th Century painting by the artist Eugene von Guerard. Here are the two paintings together:
If you want to find out more about Tillers go to: http://126.96.36.199/Exhibition/TILLERS/Default.cfm?MnuID=4
And here is the Von Guerard:
So we moved from here to the later nineteenth century when artist suddenly discovered the wonder of painting out of doors (en plein air)…. who were these artists: Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and others of the Heidelberg School. Their paintings brought a new vividness into our relationship with the landscape… an impressionistic appreciation of the power of light:
Then there were some other late 19th Century artists like Sidney Long who brought a wholly other perspective into Australian Landscapes… the mystery of the ancient world perhaps:
Then we moved on to the twentieth century in all its amazing variety. First Arthur Boyd and his Nebuchadnezzar Burning- Here ancient biblical themes intersect with Australian Landscapes and images echoing the Vietnam war:
Albert Tucker with his grotesque image “Antipodean Head” mirroring perhaps the interaction between man and landscape in Australia:
Sidney Nolan with his sanctification of the outlaw bushranger Ned Kelly:
And Nolan’s extraordinary release of the inner meaning of the Australian Desert landscape:
And this of course to be contrasted so powerfully with Grace Cossington Smith’s discovery of an interior beauty in her suburban home in Sydney:
There is much material on Cossington Smith on-line. Try here for a start: http://www.evabreuerartdealer.com.au/cosssmith.html
We all enjoyed Anissa’s reminder of how this painting perfectly illustrated the contrast between the male view of where the sacred was to be found and the female… echoing the poems we explored last week: Alison Clark’s “Gardening” and A.D. Hope’s “Australia”
Paintings by Drysdale also were found in this section of the gallery:
Sunday Morning and Aboriginal Family:
Before completing our survey with Brett Whitely we paused by that amazing modernist experiment by Roy De Maistre (greatly admired by Patrick White). Here his “Composition in Yellow Green Minor” explored the relationship between the rhythms of colour and the rhythms of sound. De Maistre was well known in the decades after the war for using his interest in art, in colour, in sound as a means for curing First World War Soldiers suffering from Shell Shock:
And so we came to the end of our journey through the many sacred landscapes of Australia… before heading back to the computers at Charles O’Neill to write up our findings, our insights, our joys…..
Thank you all for your attendance today….. enjoyed by all… especially by your teacher!