Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 – 1989) was one of the most renowned photographers of the 20th century. The Art Gallery of NSW is currently exhibiting Robert Mapplethorpe: the perfect medium . This exhibition is an extensive look at the evolution and themes of Mapplethorpe’s work.
Unfortunately much of the public perception of the artist’s legacy is related to his photographing of the gay S & M scene and the controversy about public funding of controversial works. This exhibition however, while not diminishing the power of those images, gives the viewer a more in depth look at other aspects of his output. Continue reading MAPPLETHORPE EXHIBITION: AGNSW→
The Art Gallery of New South Wales has honoured three generations of Packer family support by naming its major temporary exhibition gallery, currently displaying Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age, the Packer Family Gallery.
This exhibition will feature the iconic art of American Georgia O’Keeffe alongside modernist masterpieces by pioneering Australian artists Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith.
The ground-breaking exhibition draws together about 30 works by each artist from the breadth of their careers.
While O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith developed highly individual styles, they are connected by their choice of subject, their experimentation with light, colour and form, and their commitment to presenting alternative ways of seeing the world.
Prolific artist Daniel Boyd has taken out this year’s Bvlgari Art Award with his magnificent painting UNTITLED 2014. This was announced at a function held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on Tuesday 15th April.
This prestigious award, which includes a $50,000 painting acquisition for the Art Gallery and a residency in Italy valued at $30,000, is selected by the Gallery’s Trustees, its director Dr Michael Brand, and head curator of Australian art Wayne Tunnicliffe.
Bvlgari, famous creators of jewelry founded in Rome in 1884, have sponsored this award for the last three years and have kindly announced their support for the next three years, encouraging new young artists.
Daniel Boyd was born 31 years ago, a Kudjla/Gangalu man from Cairns in far north Queensland. He studied at the Canberra School of Art and has been exhibiting his work nationally and internationally since 2005 with solo exhibitions almost every year.
Boyd’s great, great paternal grandfather was born in Pentecost Island in Vanuatu and later brought to the sugarcane fields in Queensland as a slave. The many South Sea islanders there received virtually no pay under harsh conditions and little recognition for their contribution.
Boyd’s love of his ancestral history and focus on the ethics of colonisation, have dominated his recent and current work. UNTITLED 2014 has been created from a small photograph of Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. Over Boyd’s essentially black and white, oil, pastel and archival glue painting of a family in distant bush, is a veil of transparent dots, giving the effect of history lost. This invokes an eerie sense of spirituality, which connects us to a time long gone. It is this need of Boyd’s to reach back through history that gives his paintings such power. They seem both contemplative and evocative.
UNTITLED 2014 is worth going to the Art Gallery of New South Wales to see and experience. Congratulations to Daniel Boyd, this award is definitely well deserved.
AMERICA: PAINTING A NATION is the most expansive survey of American painting ever presented in Australia. With over 80 works ranging from 1750 to 1966, this summer blockbuster exhibition examines more than 200 years of American art, history and experience. The works have come from four major institutions in the USA: the Terra Foundation, Chicago; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. ( The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has lent its major work, Edward Hopper’s ‘ House at dusk ‘ 1935.)
The huge , at times rather overwhelming ,exhibition , beautifully presented , features works by major artists including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Georgia O’Keeffe, James McNeil Whistler, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. Most of the works have never been seen in Australia and the Art Gallery of New South Wales is the only Australian venue for this exhibition.The exhibitionis part of the Sydney International Art Series, bringing the world’s outstanding exhibitions toAustralia. It has been made possible with the support of the NSW Government through Destination NSW.
Over its eight rooms, and quoting from Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson among others where appropriate, the exhibition guides the observer on a course from New England to the Western frontier, from the Grand Canyon to the burlesque theatres of New York, from the aristocratic elegance of colonial society to the gritty realism of the modern metropolis.
One of the very first paintings we see is of No-Tin (Wind), a Chippewa chief 1832–33 by Heny Inman contrasted with the white European style dandy Edward Shippen IV By Robert Feke
We also see a glorious landscape by Gifford ‘October in the Catskills’ thrilling, glowing and golden (1880) which has a huge, ornate frame.
Moving along slightly, a stunning ‘Portrait of Misses Mary and Emily McEuen’by Thomas Sully (1823) is found among rather stilted ,very formal other ones of the period . This is a fascinating indication of changes in fashion too – look at the incredible detail in the collar of the portrait of the Fields and the very tight curled ringlets in the portrait of Ms Clarissa Cook .
A room called ‘The Nursery of Patriotism ‘ , darkly lit , features huge landscapes .Thomas Moran’s ‘ Grand Canyon’ dominates the room and there are breathtaking pictures of the Hot Springs at Yellowstone and also the Yosemite Valley .
In the room , ‘Chronicles of National Life’, there are ‘genre’ scenes capturing what were already lost traditions of huntsmen et c ( eg Remington’s ‘The Herd Boy ‘, or Homer’s ‘Huntsman and Dogs’ – which has a fabulous swirling energy and great use of line and composition . ) You can also perhaps see the precursors of abstract expressionism with the unusual ‘Rack Picture ‘ by Peto.
The ‘ Gilded Age’ of American painting , with elegant Sargents, luscious luminous Cassatts ,starkly dramatic Whistlers etc is then featured as are some incredible Victorian era still lifes of flowers etc. Also daily life, with travel on the Boston ferry depicted and Hassan’s ‘Rainy Midnight. Late’. Some are photographic realist in style, others far more Impressionist. Chases’ ‘Mother and Child’ is starkly dark and dramatic, in some ways similar to Whistler’s ‘Arrangement in Black’. They are such a contrast to the glorious ‘Tannis’ by Daniel Garber, with the stunning light and trees.
When you enter the next room there is a definite change to Modernism with the development of modern art for modern cities and the development of abstractionism ,Cubism etc .as well as yet more sensational landscapes . Shinn’s ‘Theatre Scene’ reveals a possible Toulouse -Lautrec influence. This room features the major work by Edward Hopper’ House at Dusk’ , as well as looking at the diversity of San Francisco art in the 1920’s. It also features a Georgia O’Keefe ( ‘Red and orange streak ‘) where the colour sings vibrantly.
‘The American Scene’ room challenges the national narrative and we see depictions of slaves and First Peoples. Khun’s ‘Clown With Drum’ is very powerful,( quite ‘Paglicacci ‘ish )and there is O’Keefe’s sort of almost abstract , quite erotic in a way lily painting . Jackson Pollock is also included.
In the final room, ‘The sublime is now’, taking us through to the rise of Abstract Expressionism , I was immediately drawn to the superb Robert Irwin untitled work using light and shadow. There was also the explosive powerful paintwork of Gotlieb’s ‘Penumbra’. There is a fascinating, detailed timeline on the wall of the corridor as you exit and head for the shop.
AMERICA: PAINTING A NATION runs at the Art Gallery of NSW 8 November 2013- 9 February 2014. For further information,- http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/
Coolly, elegantly presented there are unexpected hidden gems in this exhibition.
Curated by Mark McDonald of the British Museum this beautiful exhibition is of over 130 prints and drawings from the British Museum and is a rare chance to see them outside London. The Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney is the only Australian venue in an international tour which has included the Prado in Madrid.
Spanish prints and drawings are generally little known outside Spain, and it is usually assumed that these were rather marginal arts practised by few artists. The academic study and appreciation of Spanish old master prints and drawings has also lagged behind that of other European schools. However this exhibition offers a compelling re-evaluation, highlighting the exceptional quality and diversity of the graphic arts across the various distinctive regions of Spain .There is a terrific timeline provided taking us from 1561 to Goya’s death in 1828.
The exhibition is arranged roughly by region and chronologically, giving the observer a rich and detailed panorama of over 250 years of graphic art production in various techniques, taking us from the mid 16th century to the early 19th century. The exhibition also demonstrates how the art of drawing especially was nourished and stimulated by the cultural links Spain enjoyed with other European countries, (notably in particular France) while keeping an unmistakably patriotic Spanish character.
There are also lithographs etc and watercolours included and we learn about the changes and developments of the various techniques over this period.
The exhibition starts with works by Renaissance artists working in and around Madrid at the time when the city was designated as the new capital in 1561. This section includes important drawings by Alonso Berruguete,( His exquisite ‘ Assumption of the Virgin’ is floating and delicate) and the Italian Pellegrino Tibaldi who was working on the decoration of Philip II’s monastery at El Escorial.
A large component of the exhibition is devoted to the what is referred to as the Golden Age of Spanish drawing. 17th-century Madrid is represented by artists such as Vincente Carducho, Francisco Camilo, Alonso Cano and Francisco Rizi. Drawings in this period were executed in a variety of techniques and served many purposes, being a testament to the increasing importance of the role of drawing in artistic creation.
Next, moving through the exhibition rooms to 17th-century Seville (where commissions came mainly from the church and private patrons rather than the court) the observer will discover beautiful works by such celebrated figures as Francisco de Zurbarán and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. Murillo established the Seville drawing academy in 1660 and was hugely influential. The great Diego Velázquez trained in Seville, and he went on to have a brilliant career in Madrid. We are privileged to see some of his very rare and beautiful drawings of horses
José de Ribera – one of the outstanding draughtsmen and printmakers of his time – left his native Valencia to spend most of his career in (Spanish) Naples. So there are lots of heavy, swirling Baroque pieces , martyrdoms of Saints , designs for the interiors of churches , altar pieces scattered throughout the exhibition but also landscapes and court costume sketches.
Some preparatory drawings are on show,– such as Carducho’s Adoration of the Magi for Algete parish church – which are typically small, well-planned and divided into squares for easy transfer.
The exhibition concludes with the dominating figure of 18th-century Spanish art, Francisco de Goya, an artist richly represented in the British Museum collections. A major highlight, the exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view a broad spectrum of Goya’s extraordinary prints and drawings in relation to those of his forerunners and contemporaries working in Madrid during the 18th and early 19th centuries.
There is almost an entire room devoted to several series of Goya’s prints which are represented ,including the disturbing ‘Disasters of War ‘,’ The Disparates ‘and ‘Los Caprichios ‘. They are quite nightmarish, bizarre and horrific works. Included as well is Goya’s largest print ‘The Blind Guitarist’. Also of note and in complete contrast is his marvellous 1812 vivid red chalk drawing of Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington .And we mustn’t forget the bullfights! There is also the enchanting anonymous ‘after’ Goya ‘portrait of a she ant bear ‘ (anteater ). Printmaking and drawing greatly increased during this period, forever changing the artistic landscape of Spain.
An accompanying lavish catalogue has been published by the British Museum Press. Written by Mark McDonald, the curator of Renaissance to Goya: prints and drawings from Spain, it is a beautiful and comprehensive publication that examines the rich history of more than 400 years of drawing and printmaking in Spain.
There are also talks as listed on the Gallery website. RENAISSANCE TO GOYA runs at the Art Gallery of NSW until November 24 2013. The exhibition is located in the upper level Rudy Komon Gallery. For more information,- http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/.