59. Visit an art gallery

5 04 2012

First things first, I am sorry for not blogging in ages. I’ve been very busy (as will soon become apparent) and when I have been at home I’ve been having to do assignments (who’d have thought studying abroad would actually involve studying?!)

Over the course of the next few days I expect I’ll be posting updates on many things I’ve been up to in the past fortnight but I had to post about tonight’s escapades immediately.

As you may be aware, when I moved to Australia I brought my competition entering-ness with me and as such have enjoyed cinema tickets, fashion shows and many comedy shows (to be blogged about shortly). But tonight I’d won two tickets to the opening of a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria from the lovely people at Lavazza.

I took my friend Lara (who has seemingly been desperate for a namedrop on this blog for far too long) who fortunately advised me not to wear my usual jeans and tee ensemble in favour of something more sophisticated. Indeed when we turned up at the gallery’s Federation Square venue it became very clear we were mixing with the high art society of the city.

Whilst Lara made the most of the complimentary beverages, we listened to speeches from different people involved in the curation of Fred Williams ‘Infinite Horizons’ before making our way upstairs to the galleries.

Wow. 

I was completely entranced by Williams’ artwork.

His Australian Landscapes managed to juxtapose the wealth of colours and joy of the nation with dark, sombre undertones. A particularly powerful piece was ‘After the fire’ which depicted a grey landscape of burnt, fallen trees. In contrast, ‘Fairy Penguins’ was a delicate painting – with much finer brushwork – that captured the animals perfectly. Even ‘The Studio’ – a chance to look behind the scenes of his paintings – was an incredible painting with a great use of light and darkness.

So many of his paintings were heavily focused on rural Australia and it reinforced my desire to get out of the city and see the true country. I’ve been learning lots recently about indigenous life across a couple of my subjects and feel enriched by my new knowledge. If I were ever to have the chance to go and do linguistic research in a community or even to go and do some sort of volunteer work I’d be grabbing it with both arms. I’ve never, ever been this fascinated by anything before.

Fred Williams ‘Infinite Horizons’ opens officially on 7 April at The National Gallery of Victoria’s The Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square. It’s a ticketed exhibition but totally worth the investment. If you leave half as inspired about the country as I did, you’ll leave with a more enriched view of life. To see a poor man’s snippet of his inspiring artwork click here.

Oh, and make sure you go to the back of the Fred Kruger exhibition in the opposite room. There you’ll find Fred Williams’ Pilbara series as well as some more contemporary Australian Art including a particularly poignant piece ‘Little Johnny’ by Richard Bell which perfectly captures the disgust at John Howard’s lack of an apology with the words “I am not sorry” hidden amongst a sea of colour.

So yes, I am inspired. And I wish I could see one tenth of the Australian Landscapes I saw this evening in the real world.

The harsh, beautiful land that is Australia.

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