Albert Namatjira prints were on the walls of several of my relatives homes during my childhood. His takes on the Australian bush shaped my sense of what the bush looked like. The National Gallery has a great exhibition of maybe 50 classic examples of the artist’s paintings of the centre of Australia. It is a real treat to see all these great works together.
Occasional visits to the National Gallery reap visual feasts. Some months ago I visited and go to walk through a set of works titles Abstract Expressionism. The choice was delightful and there are some samples below.
Plan to take a few hours or several visits if you want to take in this exhibition. The range and complexity of the works on show means it takes lots of time to engage with the abundant creativity.
There were grand explorations of traditional.arts from both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sources. They are joined to huge numbers or works of modern and technological styles of creations.
In the entry way to the NGA is a Rolls Royce painted in tradition art style. In the exhibition is a video of the artist driving that car and that activity brings together lots of remarkable visual traditional elements. The driver turns into a large area of red dust and by driving in various circles at high speed he digs up the red dirt creating patterns and a vast amount of red dust. The beauty and layered elements of the video production and were wonderful.
I will go back as we only had 90 minutes today. The exhibition is hard as it traverses complex territory of history, political comment, layered cultural interaction and many aspects of the underbelly of human society. I have included a few pics below but the only sensible thing to do with this exhibition is to go – it is free.
Video installations are often fascinating and some engage in rich ways. There are two vivid free flowing abstract videos on two wall sized screens accompanied by an invitation to lie on the floor to watch it all unfold. The images are abstract and nature based free flowing images have an almost psychedelic light show aesthetic about them except that the images are much crisper and have more recongisable content.
Below is the web link to the NGA page for this exhibition:
The National Gallery brought together a set of works in their Australian area to reflect the great gifts and varieties of artists who recorded aspects of the experience of World War One.
The blurb for this reads: This powerful exhibition addresses wartime propaganda, front-line experience and remembrance through paintings, drawings and prints by Official War Artists, combatants and women. It also features a special focus on the remarkable artist Will Dyson.
The works range from standard historical recording of historical events and people to extremely brutal representations of the violence of war.
This exhibition draws on a world that does not exist in Australia. If you walk through large public buildings in Australia you mainly see understated and sleek. The French Louis era was the opposite – over the top bling encrusted grand scale in everything.
The National Gallery has some disadvantages as an art space but when you bring in grand scale works it comes into its own. There are tapestries that seem to be the size of the house I live in right now. There are rooms in the display that are almost the scale of the palace at Versailles itself.
The choice of objects to come to Australia are varied – ranging from a large fountain and grand scale paintings and tapestries to statues and furniture and crockery. As you would expect there is nothing in the space that is not gorgeously and elaborately designed and decorated. A thing I love about this exhibition is the context of housing these objects inthe NGA which is unfinished concrete and glass brutalism.
Stella is a print maker extraordinaire. The NGA has mounted a gallery space full of his big richly coloured spectacles on its walls. The space is alive with fabulous swathes of bright colour and creative design. The exhibition is part of an ongoing series showing the KenPrint neth Tyler Collection.