Group Exhibition @ Australian Galleries

Jeffrey Smart - Large HoardingWednesday, 4 August 2010

Dear Diary,

[Group Exhibitions – July/August 2010 – cont. from previous entry]

One has to leave it to the Australian Galleries to mount a truly kick-arse group display at its Derby Street premises. The three spaces just off the main exhibition gallery were filled with the works by Jeffrey Smart, Tim Storrier, and William Robinson.

Most of the dozen or so works by Jeffrey Smart on display are all of recent vintage, painted from 2006-2007 onwards. In spite of his advancing years, the Italy-based artist does show any signs of slowing down. His paintings still retain their measured and studied quality; the execution is not rushed; colours are fresh and harmonious. Urban architecture and landscape still provide the artist with an endless source of inspiration, and he continues mining this rich visual repository in such works as The Large Hoarding and Via Pierro della Francesca [$550,000 ea], or in the cheeky glimpses of male and female nudes in his smaller Study for ‘The Caravan Park’ [$235,000]. The exhibition display also affords the viewer a glimpse of his earlier works, such as a 1950s acrylic on paper Two-Up [$65,000] and a sharp study of a male nude from 1965 [$14,500].

Tim Storrier - CinemaThe adjacent display room features five or six recent paintings by Tim Storrier [all measuring around 200×100 cm, $145,000 ea]. I have always maintained that Storrier is one of the most accomplished contemporary figurative painters, and the works on display attest to my high opinion of him. They all feature disembodied, floating garments against the background of clouds and skies; colours are rich and vibrant but always in harmony with each other; technical execution is smooth and (from what I can judge) faultless; every painterly passage is resolved and properly thought out. My attention was especially caught by Cinema, which was likewise a painting of a disembodied raincoat, reminiscent of a still from a period film noir. Although there is no human figure involved, Storrier succeeded in relating the energy and experience of rushing through the pouring rain by the careful study of the garment’s folds. The painting is a near-monochromatic exercise in watery greys, accentuating the glowing effects of a burning cigarette and blinking headlights in the distance.

The next room displays a veritable cornucopia of vertiginous landscapes by William Robinson, whose successful one-man-show closed at these premises in June. His erstwhile admiration of Vuillard and Bonnard are still evident in the flattening out of his picture planes, “seeing the world reflected in a pool of water,” and pulling forth the backgrounds of his compositions.

William Robinson - Sunlight Hillside Carnarvon

The artist continues exploring Queensland’s rainforests; the paintings are carried out in rich, succulent colours which are at times brightened to depict the dazzling effects of sunlight, or subdued to indicate mist and shade. The painted surfaces shimmer with textured and vigorous brushwork. I took a special delight in examining these canvasses up close, where a luscious passage of emerald dissipated in a myriad of brushstrokes of greens, deep blues and purples.  [Price range: $175,000-$495,000].

PS: The Robinson display also featured a number of the artist’s ink drawings in paper, many depicting beach scenes, in his quick and quirky observational style [price range: $18,500 ea].

[© Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg 2010. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]

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Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg

August 2010


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