Arthur Boyd landscape paintings are the focus of a major retrospective touring nationally from 2019


Updated

November 09, 2018 17:01:04

The late Arthur Boyd, an Australian artist celebrated for his painting, pottery and sculpture, is particularly famous for his landscapes.

He expressed themes of love, loss and shame, and often turned to allegory to express his ideas. In these works, he drew heavily from the Bible and ancient mythology — but located his scenarios in the Australian bush.

Now his life-long career engaging with both the real and imagined landscape will tour Australia as part of a three-year exhibition.

The tour will commence at Sydney’s National Art School gallery in January 2019, and go on to regional institutions around Australia.

National tour includes:

  • National Art School Gallery, Sydney: Jan 10-Mar 9
  • Ipswich Art Gallery, QLD: Jun 8-Aug 1
  • Shepparton Art Museum, VIC: Aug 12 -Nov 14
  • Cairns Regional Art Gallery, QLD: Apr 3-Jun 21, 2020.
  • Glasshouse Regional Gallery, Port Macquarie, NSW: Jul 3-Sep 13, 2020
  • Tweed Regional Gallery, NSW: Dec 11-Feb 28, 2021
  • Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, NSW: Mar 12-May 2, 2021
  • Lake Macquarie Art Gallery, NSW: Jul 24-Sep 26, 2021

“At the moment, you can really only experience the Bundanon at Bundanon itself, which is a relatively isolated place,” said Deb Ely, the Chief Executive of the Bundanon Trust, which is touring the exhibition.

Boyd and his wife Yvonne donated the Bundanon Homestead, near Nowra on NSW’s South Coast, to the people of Australia in 1993.

“So every few years we bring together an important body of work of Arthur’s and try and share it with the Australian people — which was always Arthur’s intention.”

The exhibition is called Landscape of the Soul.

“At a superficial level, you could say Arthur grew up in a rural setting, he always lived in the country as much as possible,” Ms Ely said.

Boyd learned to paint outdoors as a child, beside his grandfather, whose works are included in the exhibition.

“But I think at a bigger level, the landscape became an external setting for his internal landscape, for his emotional life, and for all the kind of things that he wrestled with psychologically and politically,” Ms Ely explained.

And this is what made him stand out as an artist in his time.

“We can see that this is a very distinctive and a very true part of what Arthur was creating.

“It’s … very astonishing. It’s very dramatic and has a lot of emotional upheaval in it; it’s very powerful work.”

Boyd painted beautiful landscapes too, but it’s the “shocking drama” that makes this work different, she said.

Boyd’s Nebuchadnezzar series, made in response to the Vietnam War, contains some of his best-known work.

Ms Ely said the painter often addressed politics in his work, but not always as explicitly as in the Nebuchadnezzar series, which he began after the self-immolation of a man near his London home

“It’s an Old Testament story about a Babylonian king who tries to make himself into God, and then God strikes him down like a beast,” Ms Ely explained.

“And I think it was very much Arthur’s reference to America wading into the Vietnam situation.”

Barry Pearce, a close and long-time friend of Arthur Boyd’s and an Emeritus Curator of Australian art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, is the guest curator for this show.

“He knew where Arthur was coming from and [could] bring a really personal perspective to the show,” Ms Ely said.

The exhibition includes works that Arthur Boyd made as a child of 12 and spanning his lifetime.

“Barry has really been able to join together the very beginnings of Arthur’s thinking, right through to the end of his life.”

Topics:

arts-and-entertainment,

visual-art,

painting,

history,

regional,

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sydney-2000,

toronto-2283,

booragul-2284,

nowra-2541,

katoomba-2780,

tweed-heads-2485,

murwillumbah-2484,

port-macquarie-2444,

cairns-4870,

shepparton-3630,

ipswich-4305,

australia

First posted

November 09, 2018 16:55:41



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