Monday, June 27, 2011

A walk in the park

Nothing beats sunny winter days, where the air is crisp and leaves beg to be crunched underfoot. I was lucky enough to spend my Saturday exploring the New South Wales Gallery and The Royal Botanic Gardens. We managed to squeeze into one of the last days of the Archibald Prize exhibition and I'm so glad we did. As gallery-hopping goes, I am a novice, but twice I've gone to the Archibald Prize and twice I've been astounded. Of course the works are created by extremely talented folks, but what I enjoy most about the exhibition is how much you learn about both artist and muse. It's amazing how some artists can capture an exact feel, a precise moment in someones life and display it on canvas with such accuracy you feel you are right there too. In this aspect Jenny Sages work stood out to me.

         "Jenny Sages’s beloved husband, Jack Sages, died on 1 October 2010.
              ‘For our 55-year marriage I was his woman and he facilitated my need to work in every possible way,’ she says.
‘The MDF board on which this work is painted was the last one he built for me. I used it to make my first and only portrait of Jack. I started it in June last year and finished it on July 18th. He sat for me almost daily on our verandah.’
              Jack is featured with his portrait in the documentary made by Catherine Hunter for the National Portrait Gallery to accompany Sages’s solo exhibition Paths to portraiture, which opened in Canberra in 2010 and tours Australia until 2013.
              Jack served in the British Navy during the Second World War when he was stationed in Alexandria in Egypt. Sages met him in Israel in 1954 while travelling the world after three-and-a-half years at art school in New York. After five days together, they were smitten – though another year passed before they would meet up again and decide to marry."

I think the meaning behind the work is breath-taking. Standing next to it, looking into this man's cheeky eyes, it seemed like I could feel each memory they'd had together, etched into every brushstroke. 
Moon Boy by Tim Storrier was my favourite, I adored the whimsy, the concept and the nostalgia. Describing his self portrait, Storrier states: 
On a nostalgic whim using memories of old lost clothes
I painted them hanging on a structure to resemble a figure
Arranged in ways to suggest the posture, stance and attitude
Informed by the emotions and moods of a youthful self long ago,
Such method can bring life to the memory of people long gone …
scarecrows of nostalgia …

Aethetically, Matt Doust's White Cocoon was stunning. It's a very large painting, so standing beneath it you can't help but be captivated by Miss Ward's ethereal beauty.

Finally, Amanda Marburg's portrait of crossword
 creater "DA" caught my eye. She took a step away from the norm and I believe in doing so, she really conveyed this man's personality. Her description sums it up well...
"My portrait of him is a study of a man locked in his own mind, obsessed with the way words and letters work and interplay. It was rendered initially in plasticine. Adjusting and playing with the plasticine model before painting it is akin to him pushing his mind and coming up with the nuances and subtle shifts that make cryptic crosswords work."
‘The painting consists of DA in the foreground and a case of knowledge in the background, gridded up and ordered as a crossword is.’

After the exhibition we went for a walk in the gardens and had a blissful lunch in the sun.
Miss Lauren and Miss Hilary locked away for good!

Blouse- Vinnie's (Pennant Hills)
Skirt and jacket - 1940's suit
Shoes - Payless (years ago!)
Bag - gift from my Nanna
Glasses - Melbourne

Whoops... : P

All and all, a fantastic day!


Miss Tallulah Porkchop said...

Great shirt.

hila said...

I'm so jealous you got to see these paintings in person, I would have loved to have been there. I do have a soft spot for portraits.

Sarah said...

Thankyou! They were fantastic, I almost can't wait for next year x