Australia’s regional towns are rich with history. From gold-rush boomtowns in the nineteenth century, to as recently as two years ago, Dalmorton has it all. And nothing.
We went off-road in our 4WD and had access to sites deep within the national forest. Station Creek has twisting angopheras and hidden waterways where the water is electric blue.
We drove to a village that is only accessible via the beach, and the beach is only driveable at low tide. Only one permanent resident lives there, everyone else is a blow-in. There’s an adjacent caravan park too, but there’s not road to that. Swim, or bring your boat.
The grass is a vivid green and the trees are fresh. They’re new. Saplings shoot from the undergrowth and burst from the torn flesh of burnt trunks. Fire has savaged these parts. Floods, too. But the grass is alive and the wallabies bound. They try to keep up with the train.
We slow to a halt. Two tracks merge into one and we wait. Minutes pass. A monster speeds round the bend. We carry on.
Mollymook and Canberra,
Wentworth Falls, Melbourne.
Road trips on cold long-
Distance buses, just to catch
A glimpse of Sydney.
From the rolling greens
Of rain-soaked Berri, and sheep
Paddocks through the Great
Dividing Range, to
The open South Coast blue, the
Tall poplars along
The road to Canb’rra,
The fragrant bushland of the
Blue Mountains, and the
Trams of Melbourne. I
Love my sunburnt country, come
Fire, drought, flooding rains.
This year, the Art Gallery of New South Wales plays host to a collection of pieces by surrealist, Francis Bacon as part of the gallery’s International Art Series. Spanning from the early nineteen forties until the late eighties, the exhibition covers approximately five decades of his artistry and showcases many unseen stimuli from his workshop and personal interests. The works have been drawn from over 37 different collections, including the Museum of Modern Art of in New York as well as the Tate Museum in London.
Bacon passed away in 1992, but was revolutionary for his time. In this collection of post-war pieces, Bacon exemplifies controversial modern art. Throughout the commentary of the exhibition, we learn of his influences, from studying the works of Impressionists such as van Gogh and abstract expressionists, such as Picasso. As the exhibition progresses, we see the influential nature of these and other sources to Bacon’s work. Controversial and radical for it’s time, the art of Francis Bacon is experimental in textures and style, as well as subject matter, for a lot of his work presents a level of homosexual oppression. Throughout the exhibition, we are shown his social commentary in works like ” The Crucifixion” and “Figure in landscape,” and these are said to encapsulate his social interests in human brutality and Nazi Germany, as well as his personal interests in radiography and lovers. Both of these artworks highlight the interrelation and combination of subject matter that Bacon exemplified in most of his pieces.
The exhibition itself is a mixture of different mediums- photography of Bacon and his studio, films from at critics and influential films from the 1920’s, as well as artefacts from his studio. The exhibition is a great showcase of selected works, however I felt that I need an introduction to his artistic capabilities and endeavors/career in interior design, rather than just a focus on his internal angst and social commentary. I felt that the exhibition was a little narrow in selection and I was Ieft wanting to know more of his progression through artistic styles and why those interested him. For example, late 2012, the gallery showcased the works of Picasso and they displayed the progression of his works- from his ability to sculpt and sketch like Michelango at age 11, to his deconstructionist abstract expressionism. It was because of this chronological progression that I understood the motives and reasoning behind a lot of the later works. I felt that this is was was lacking from the current Francis Bacon exhibition, although it was very interesting to see the masterpieces from one of the most intellectual and controversial artists of the 21st Century.
As an intellectual endeavor, I recommend catching this exhibition before it ends on the 24th of February.
Eugene Atget; Old Paris
The National Gallery of New South Wales holds Eugene Atget; Old Paris. This photographic exhibition has been showing since the 24th of August and comes to a close on the 4th of November and missing such a treatise would indeed be a shame. The display itself is a well organised and curated showcase of old Parisian images from renowned photographer Eugene Atget. The display provides booklets and placards with fantastic background knowledge which I must admit, enhances the experience a great deal. . The deserted nature of many of the lane-ways and gardens is more eerie than picturesque. It seems lonely, he is able to capture an emotion.
Whilst being intellectually stimulating, the photographs themselves are nostalgic and perfectly angled to recreate your vision and understanding of the world. The streets are like any other, but the way Atget has photographed them is so unique and refreshing. He frames the forms and structures of architecture, décor and Paris that connect you with the past, as well as leave the past to your imagination because often he angles them to have a lane-way veer off around a curve, so you wonder what is at the end. He captures the empty labyrinthine nature of a Paris long forgotten, a Paris before the glitz and glamour of bustling department stores. The exhibition is evocative of the parts of Paris that aren’t famous in tourism. It gave you a sense of Paris before the fame, before fanciful people. He snapshots the everyday lives of street vendors and pedlars, labourers at work. It’s uniquely humbling, strangely nostalgic and impossibly lonely. The deserted nature of many of the lane-ways and gardens is more eerie than picturesque. It does seem lonely, and the ability to capture that emotion in a multitude of photographs, is such a gift.
The photos have a certain air, a blur of mysticism and reality; something which convinces you that you can literally step into the sepia and end up in a colour-filled 19th century Paris. He creates an air of intimacy, a bond often labelled a sacred space between the spectator and the spectacle. It was the side of Paris that people forget; the shanty towns, the homeless, those who live on the edge, the rim of the city beyond the walls. His photography gives the Nobodies a voice, makes them a Somebody. We are not overstimulated, we are enchanted.
Source of image: http://www.leninimports.com/eugene_atget.html
From June 22nd until August 26th, the Art Gallery of New South Wales showcases timeless Japanese art through Kamisaka Sekka; the dawn of modern Japanese design. Through thoughtful displays of the development of the Rinpa school of design, audiences can follow the influences of traditional Japanese culture as it mixes with contemporary themes and ideas. This compilation of lacquers, ceramics, decorative art and textiles spanning from the early 17th Century until the present, displays the Rinpa tradition of the ‘artist as designer’. This tradition developed and expanded as Rinpa scholars travelled to Europe, adopting ideas drawn from Art Nouveu and, in particular, the British Arts and Crafts movement. With its focus on motifs and themes taken from nature, Rinpa art is accessible to a broad audience regardless of age, gender and cultural background. Few other artistic traditions established centuries ago continue to captivate and engage viewers today on the same level as Rinpa.