CAS Members and Friends trip to Geelong Gallery
Little Malop St, Geelong
1 November 2017
Review by Cressida Fox
It's a very long time since I did any traveling on a country train. What a nice surprise to find just how clean, comfortable, spacious and fast the Waurn Ponds train from Southern Cross Station was. It took just an hour to reach Geelong, which went quickly as our small group of CAS Members and Friends chatted excitedly as we watched the scenery change from the Melbourne outer suburbs to country fields and farmlands.
A short walk from the lovely old bluestone Geelong railway station brought us to Geelong Gallery, where we saw the Archibald Prize (the first time it has come to Geelong Gallery) and Fred Williams in the You Yangs exhibitions.
Fred Williams' gouache and oil paintings, etchings and aquatints and drawings, were mostly done on site during the mid 1960's and 1970's. From pale canvases with almost minimalist markings indicating flat stretches of scrubland, to big paintings of impressive rock formations in deep ochres with little flashes of blue, we could see his typical painterly daubs, deftly applied with both ends of the brush, creating his wonderful impressions of the Australian bush.
Our President Robert Lee made a great tour guide, from pointing out landmarks and features during the train trip, to explaining some of the techniques that Fred Williams had used, also those of various works in The Archibald, along with some interesting background information on some of the participating artists.
The judging of The Archibald Prize has brought much controversy over the years, and 2017 is no exception. The Prize winner, Agatha Gothe-Snape, oil on linen, by Mitch Cairns, left many people questioning, “why that one … not that one … or that one ...” (depending on which works most spoke to them). The painting of artist Agatha Gothe-Snape is a fine work, beautifully executed and remeniscent of one of Picasso's styles, where he would dramatically distort the body to create an expressive and flowing figure. We had fun working out the body parts of this female form. However this was not one of the works that we would have chosen for The Prize!
Here are some of our favourites.
The inner stillness of Eileen Kramer, byAndrew Lloyd Greensmith, is a beautiful painting, touching, delicate and exquisitely detailed. At 102 years old, Eileen is still working as a dancer/choreographer, as well as being a poet, artist and costume designer.
Noel Thurgate's Homage to Peter Powditch, fellow artist, is a fascinating study in oil and mixed media on board. Not only is it a great portrayal, but the way the materials are used is quite extraordinary, including timbers, cardboar door cores, and denim which has been oil paint enhanced to great 3D effect.
Anh Do's JC, executed in very thick impasto mixed media, superbly portrays the likeness and complex character of indiginous actor, Jack Charles. Anh also wanted to create textures that evoke and encapsulate the beauty of the Australian lanscape, such as mountains, waterfalls, and tree bark. This work won the ANZ Peoples Choice Award.
There are many other fine works in this exhibition. Go and see for yourself, which one would you choose! The Archibald Prize runs till 10 December 2017 at Geelong Gallery, Little Malop St, Geelong.