During my visit to the Art Gallery of New South Wales I saw numerous artworks that gave me insight into how Australian literature is conveyed in paintings. One of the paintings that gave me a better understanding of how artists expressed their ideas on social, cultural and political issues was ‘I lived at Berowra’, by Margaret Preston.
Preston not only expresses her real interest Australian flora and fauna, but also in the idea of unity between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people and the European Settlers. Preston incorporates the two indigenous and western styles into one painting, creating an important unifying feature. This is done by outlining the shapes in black, because in Indigenous art, artists would always fuse black lines around the shapes within their artworks.
Another artwork that impacted me was Roy de Maistre’s painting, ‘Rhythmic composition in yellow green minor’.
Maistre’s painting exemplifies how an artists’ appreciation for music and poetry can be incorporated into one painting. Firstly, the word choice of ‘minor’ in the title is referring to a type of chord in music, and it is considered to have a poignant tonality to it, in contrast with a major chord. I don’t know why he chose to write minor, as the painting doesn’t evoke a sense of sadness to me, however, it is an abstract artwork that reflects the movement of postmodernism. I really do love this painting though, the lines and shapes almost look like a treble-clef, not to mention how beautiful his choice of colours are, and how they blend into every shape and line. The colours are gentle, not harsh, creating a harmonious atmosphere, which reminds me of how calm music can also achieve a similar atmosphere.
The idolisation of Indigenous culture and old Australian landscapes is conveyed in Frederick William’s abstract painting, ‘Saplings, Wedderburn’.
It is a setback to when times were peaceful before the utilitarians invaded Australia, as the establishment of stillness within the painting creates a quiet atmosphere. William’s admiration for untouched landscapes is also expressed through his particular use of lines, shapes and the employment of contrasting colours that represent Australian vegetation, trees and landscapes. This reveals the fact that nature inspired him greatly and helped him construct this artwork.
“Saplings, Wedderburn, (1971) By Fred Williams :: The Collection :: Art Gallery NSW”. Artgallery.nsw.gov.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
“Rhythmic Composition In Yellow Green Minor, (1919) By Roy De Maistre :: The Collection :: Art Gallery NSW”. Artgallery.nsw.gov.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
“I Lived At Berowra, (1941) By Margaret Preston :: The Collection :: Art Gallery NSW”. Artgallery.nsw.gov.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.