Posts Tagged ‘Mossgreen


Day 324: Untitled, by Stanislaus Rapotec

Rapotec Mossgreen

Day 324: Untitled, by Stanislaus Rapotec

Stan Rapotec’s Untitled Abstract (1962) is another outstanding work featuring in the current Spring Auction Series at Mossgreen (lot 812, est AUD $10,000-15,000). It was displayed – as things at auctions frequently are – surrounded by paintings, furniture and decorative art objects from every possible era and country of origin. Yet among the ensuing cacophony of styles and colours, Rapotec’s painting stood out with the strength of its own laconic black-and-white starkness.

As Rapotec usually titled all his works, we can only assume that the original title of this work has been either forgotten or lost. Paintings by Rapotec, who was a Yugoslavian military hero during the Second World War, and who became one of the major exponents of Abstract Expressionism in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s, are frequently influenced by a strong religious feeling or express an emotion, sensation, or movement within his immediate environment.

Therefore, in Rapotec’s works of this period we frequently encounter the artist’s response to a religious edifice or a sacred text; or an ‘experience’ of a particular weather condition, season of the year, or place. The energy and the sensation of a forward surge contained within this painting suggest a possibility of it emanating from the latter sensibility.

Further research would undoubtedly uncover the original title and intent behind this striking composition; while a light conservational cleaning would bring back its majestic black-and-white crispness.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries]


Day 323: Goldfish, by Charles Wheeler

Wheeler Mossgreen

Day 323: Goldfish, by Charles Wheeler

This elegant painting by Charles Wheeler from the turn of last century features in Mossgreen’s current Spring Auction Series (lot 397, est AUD $30,000-$40,000). It shows a studio model gazing with abandon into a spherical goldfish bowl. The composition, that appears to be so simple and elegant at first glance, is in fact quite complex. The whole action of the painting occurs within the left third of the canvas. The outline of the model’s head, her hand, the shape of the bowl, and even the movement of the goldfish in the bowl creates a constant elliptical movement, a vortex almost, from which the viewers are unable to extricate their gaze. It is also the vortex, from which all other elliptical shapes within the painting emanate, and we can see them echoed in the silhouette of the model’s body and the arrangement of her limbs.

Her body is, once again, confined to the upper third of the painting, leaving the central and lower-right-hand-side of the painting at the risk of appearing virtually empty and bland. And yet we do not have this sensation when looking at the picture. Wheeler is skilfully exercising the academic balance of the golden mean, where the action within the left and upper sides of the composition balance the calmness and inaction within the rest of the work, while the overall gamut – and especially the flashes of pinks and turquoises – further unite the disparate elements within the composition.

The model is so absorbed in the interplay of the goldfish that she is completely unaware of the viewer. As the result, the viewer becomes the voyeur. The subdued, dusty, pastel-like gamut of Charles Wheeler’s palette and the tight cropping of the composition further imbue the painting with the sense of intimacy and closeness.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries]

Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg

July 2019
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