Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Outstanding Australian Creativity

Caught up with some uniquely Australian art over the last few days. Utterly inspiring in so many ways.

The Howard Arkley retrospective in Melbourne is a riot of colour. His vividly airbrushed canvases quite literally transform dull suburbia into enticing exotica.

I remember doing some work with Arkley about ten years ago on an art project for Ericsson. Of course I didn’t realise at the time he’d be dead a couple of years later.

Another great Oz artist who died too soon was Brett Whiteley. I took a walk through the back streets of Surry Hills while I was in Sydney and visited his studio.

There were some great paintings on display, but Whiteley’s studio was something else. It was pretty much as he’d left it when he died.

It was so special being able to spend time in this creative space. Interesting scribbles on the wall, personal photos and newspaper cuttings. Even the music playing came from his cd collection.

I also went to see the Reg Mombassa exhibition when I was in Sydney. Well worth the climb on a 38 degree day to a gallery at the highest point in town.

As I expected there was plenty of his work for Mambo, including Australian Jesus. What I didn’t expect was his landscape work, which was a lot like Howard Arkley with the colour bleached out.

With the pressures of work and family it’s often difficult to find time to get to galleries. After the last week I’ll be making a bit more of an effort in future.

Links: Howard Arkley - Brett Whiteley - Reg Mombassa