This week we undertook our excursion trip to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Here we looked at a variety of different works that displayed many different styles and themes, but all related to/shared the common theme of the subject of Australia, primarily in terms of the Australian outback, and colonial Australia. We did this as a result of the connection these themes of these works reflect on the themes expressed through our study of Alex Miller's. 'Journey to the Stone Country'.
Personally, I enjoyed the trip very much as I found the insights we gained into the art works that we observed to be extremely interesting.
I found that each art work, although sharing common themes, portrayed an individual perspective of Australia whether it be expressed through aspects such as use of colour and tone, the portrayal of content, use of shape, etc. Personally I found that each work we observed portrayed an individual opinion of the overall subject of the 'Australian outback'. Some described the love for the outback, some displayed a hate and contempt for the outback, whereas some displayed both the positive and negative opinions on the subject of the Aboriginals and white settlers and their relationship with the Australian land.
Firstly we looked at 'Fruit Bats' by 'Lin Onus'. I found as we discussed this work in the group that I gained a larger insight into the work that I initially did not grasp by myself. Although I noticed the portrayal of the theme of aboriginal heritage and it's ability to prevail or 'join' with western cultures ( through the juxtaposition of the two cultures), I did not initially pick up on aspects such as the point of the art work portraying the destruction of the natural landscape as seen by the overcrowded bats.
Through this art work I found many connections to Alex Miller's, 'Journey to the Stone Country'. Aspects such as the struggle of Aboriginal rights, the clashing and juxtaposition of Aboriginal and European cultures, Respect, honour, heritage, the issue of the destruction of the natural landscape, etc. all directly relate to the novel as I found myself making these connections. The bats in the worked seemed to represent the struggles of 'Bo' as I find in the novel he represents the aspect of aboriginal Issues in the novel (in terms of knowledge and respect of his heritage/background etc.)
Visually I found the work to be technically amazing and captivating as MG noted how the bats eyes seem to watch you with extreme detail- almost prompting you to look away.
In terms of the works of the early colonial paintings such as that of the works of 'Tom Roberts', 'John Glover' and other members of the Heidelberg school, I found these works extremely interesting. I found that through these artists amazing technical ability and sense of style, these artists successfully presented paintings that portrayed Iconic Images of colonial Australia such as the Images of the bush ranger, the gold digger, and the farmer. I found that themes expressed through these works included both the beauty and toughness of the Australian land, the hardships faced by the early settlers ( particularly in the painting of the gold digger), and the subsequent spirit and strength of the average Australian as expressed through their connection to the land.
I found that both Fred Hubbin's 'On the Wallaby track' and Fred Williams' 'My Garden' both evoke strong sense of feelings and emotion through the use of strong and suggestive colour and brush techniques. Hubbin's 'On the Wallaby track' created a sense of fantasy and beauty as the family in the bush blend in with their surroundings making them in turn appear to be 'one' with their landscape. Similarly in Williams' 'My Garden' through the use of red and black streaks emotions of passion are evoked as the vibrant colours and random patterns create a free and open style to the painting.
Other works that I enjoyed that further commented on the beauty of the Australian landscape were that of Arthur Boyd's work (filled with vibrant colours and biblical Illusions) and Judy Cassab's range of 'Rock paintings' that seemed to display the raw beauty of the Australian outback through the use of strong earthy colours evoking Images of the Australian desert.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience at the Art gallery emmensly and was surprised at how many connections existed between these art works and the themes of Alex Miller's 'Journey to the Stone Country'.