|John Brack, 'The Car', 1955. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.|
Here's some extracts from the Academy's website. The curator chose the theme of 'landscape' to unify things, and a very good choice it was too. Those endless horizons...
|Eugene von Guérard, 'Bush Fire Between Mt Elephant and Timboon, 1857', 1859. Art Gallery of Ballarat.|
|John Glover, 'A View of the Artist’s House and Garden, in Mills Plains, Van Diemen’s Land', 1835. Art Gallery of South Australia .|
|Rover Thomas (Joolama) 'Cyclone Tracey' 1991. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.|
|Russell Drysdale, 'The Drover’s Wife', c.1945. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra|
|Max Dupain, 'Sunbaker', 1937. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.|
However, let me add some kudos for the video work that opened the exhibition as you walked in: Shaun Gladwell's 'Approach to Mundi Mundi'. He sits on a motorcycle and rides straight along a straight road in a flat landscape, the horizon stretching as far as the eye can see. When you arrive at the Sidney Nolan 'Kelly' paintings and contemplate that one where Ned is riding in a similar landscape, the links are obvious.
At this point perhaps the sentimental amongst us (including homesick Australians) should break into a rendition os Dorothea MacKellar's "I Love A Sunburnt Country"...I jest. A bit.
|Still from Shaun Gladwell's 'Approach to Mundi Mundi'|
|A bad reproduction of Sidney Nolan's 'Ned Kelly', but you get the drift....|
"Not just a long overdue show but a powerfully atmospheric evocation of a country seen from myriad facets" - The Times
"Australia’s most treasured art comes to London for the biggest show yet seen in UK" - The Guardian
"★★★★ Detailed, comprehensive, omniscient, in places beautiful” The Daily Telegraph
But apparently some reviewers found it necessary to dis the whole lot. While I can sympathise with comments about the limitations of such review-style exhibitions - it was often disappointing to see only one or two works by the really big names - that's inherent in the type of exhibition. Yes, it would be great to see an RA exhibition showcasing just one great Australian artist periodically - as they so often do for, shall we say, 'less-great' Europeans - but they just don't do it. Here's The Guardian's review - displaying not very much knowledge of Australian art history, and agreeing with me on the contemporary stuff.
|Brett Whiteley 'Big Orange (Sunset)' 1974|