It’s been over a week since I’ve seen it but I can’t not write about the NGA’s travelling exhibition at the Newcastle Regional. This exhibition of Australian women abstract artists is a paid exhibition so be forewarned. If you forget and wander in unaware you will be chased. It’s a small fee though and with the addition of a complimentary booklet, I think worth it. It’s not a large exhibition but there are some great works. And some unfamiliar names (for me anyway). Such as Inge King whose work is remarkable for its recognisable shape and place amongst other non-figurative sculpture of the mid 20th century. Because I’m unfamiliar with her work perhaps there are more sculptures in her oeuvre that identify personally with the artist rather than of the time.
Janet Dawson’s lithograph work titled “Night Bird” had me rather excited. The combination of colour and shape, simple yet elegant is timeless. Lithograph is a mystery to me having skipped this technique in art school but I always seem to admire the finished works. Her three lithograph works in this exhibition date back to 1960.
There’s also the familiar name Margaret Preston whose work I never tire of seeing. She has three works in the show all woodcut prints and all recognisable. Grace Crowley whose work from 1928 titled “Sailors and models” is fascinating for its patina and reference to cubism. I couldn’t help thinking of the cubist work of the French artist Fernand Leger when viewing this work.
This exhibition is divided up into 6 sub genres and I’ve bounced around a bit with sequence but on the whole it runs from earliest works to most recent. While wandering about the gallery I frequently returned to the early work from last century where colours were more subdued and quiet. Such as the abstract expressionist work of Yvonne Audette. The texture, emotion and determined movement of materials about the canvas beckoned me to keep returning to it. It’s the highlight of the exhibition for me. But of course it’s subjective this art viewing and perhaps the more strident works of the minimalists might appeal to others more.
Anyway it’s worth taking a look and the more who attend the more likely we are to get more travelling exhibitions coming to Newcastle. Cheers!