Of course there was a compulsory pitstop at the Art Gallery of Western Australia to have a look at its collections and depiction of society through the eyes of the city's artists.
Headlining its permanent exhibitions is "Princely Treasures: European Masterpieces 1600 - 1800 from the Victoria and Albert Museum." The pieces are breathtaking and familiar. Heh. We've seen them in London and decided to skip that. We spent more time on meandering through the other galleries showcasing Australian art from the 1920s till today.
IMHO, there isn't a singular identifying trait of Australian art till we move into the 1960s and 1980s. The pieces from 1920s seek to emulate the landscapes and motifs of Europe. No surprising, I suppose, colonial settlers and all. Only in the 1960s, then we begin to see an emergence of Australian themes, concerns and a blend of indigenous and western art techniques. These are found in the works of Jenny Watson, John Brack, Guy Grey-Smith and the photographs of Axel Poignant.
There are the standard sculptures, porcelain and silverware from the colonial era. Very fine work in the tea sets and porcelain by ceramic factories in England which have closed eons ago. The gallery has a lovely collection of etching, lithographs and silver gelatin print. Michael Cook, winner of the 'Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards' uses the method of inkjet print on Hahnemuhle paper.
|Stanley Spencer's series, depicting 'Christ in the Wilderness', 1939 - 1954.|
At the gallery of the artworks of the participants of the 'Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards', I was very taken by Danie Mellor's pieces which used pencil, pastel, glitter, Swarovski's crystal and wash on Saunders Waterford paper. The bluish tint reminds me of china and lends a visual stimulant to the modernist themes of death, resurrection, paradise and society. Nyilyari Tjapangati's aboriginal painting "Untitled" 2010 utilized synthetic polymer paint on linen and invites viewers to understand the Tingari Cycle, which makes the artwork a visual labyrinth of meanings within its drawings and symbols.
Always a pleasure to walk through the galleries.
|'Suspended Stone Circle', 1978 - 1981. By Ken Unsworth|