Art From Australia At The Royal Academy

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 59 months ago
Art From Australia At The Royal Academy
Australia
 21 September 2013 to 8 December 2013
 
 Key. 121  
 
 Sidney Nolan
 Ned Kelly,1946
 Enamel on composition board
 90.8 x 121.5 cm
 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
 Gift of Sunday Reed 1977
 
 Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London in partnership with the National Gallery of Australia
Sidney Nolan Ned Kelly,1946 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Key. 40  /  Cat. 0
 
 Eugene von Gu??rard
 Bush Fire, 1859
 Oil on canvas
 34.8 x 56.3 cm
 Art Gallery of Ballarat
 Gift of Lady Currie in memory of her husband, the late Sir Alan Currie, 1948
Eugene von Guerard Bush Fire, 1859 Art Gallery of Ballarat
Australia
 21 September 2013 to 8 December 2013
 
 Key. 59  /  Cat. 0
 
 Tom Roberts
 Allegro con brio: Bourke Street west  c.1885-86, reworked 1890
 Oil on canvas on composition board
 51.2 x 76.7 cm
 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the National Library of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 1918
Tom Roberts Allegro con brio: Bourke Street west c.1885-86 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the National Library of Australia, Canberra.
Shaun Gladwell 
Approach to Mundi Mundi, 2007. 
Production still.
Shaun Gladwell Approach to Mundi Mundi, 2007. Production still.
Key. 109  /  Cat. 0
 Charles Meere
 Australian Beach Pattern, 1940
 Oil on canvas
 91.5 x 122 cm
 Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased 1965
 ?? DACS 2013
 Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London in partnership with the National Gallery of Australia
 
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Charles Meere Australian Beach Pattern, 1940 Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased 1965
Key. 72  /  Cat. 0
 
 Arthur Streeton
 'Fire's On', 1891
 Oil on canvas
 183.8 x 122.5 cm
 Art Gallery of New South Wales, purchased 1893
 
 Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London in partnership with the National Gallery of Australia
Arthur Streeton 'Fire's On', 1891 Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Australia may not be known for either classical or modern art, but this latest exhibition at the Royal Academy is seeking to change this by taking us on a 200 year journey through Australian art - from aboriginal art, through to modern day via the colonial era.

The exhibition opens with a captivating video: artist Shaun Gladwell rides a motorcycle, hands-free, striking a Christ-like pose as he freewheels along a road scything through the Australian outback. As impressive a feat it is, what's even more impressive is the vast expanse of arid scrubland either side of the road which seems to go on forever.

We're then taken on a chronological tour of Australian art starting with the unmistakeable abstract pointillism of Aboriginal art. As Europeans came to Australia, the art that came with them was always going to be a poor imitation of the Romantic and Impressionist creations from Europe. However, the colour and landscape of Australia rescues these works by giving them brighter and warmer tones than the greens, blues and greys of Europe.

Eventually Australian art did forge its own path, most notably with Sidney Nolan and his series of paintings on the life of the cult outlaw Ned Kelly. His most arresting work here is of the outback as a swirling ocean of red – despite depicting a rocky landscape, it seems to be ready to burst into motion at any moment.

Even the modern pieces on display owe a lot to their country's unique landscape, whether it be of nature preserves in Tasmania or the glaring sun. It's proof that Australia is still producing innovative and thought provoking art even to this day.

This is a massive exhibition and though it does run out of steam a little towards the end, it's a comprehensive collection of the rich and diverse history of Australian art.

Australia is on at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Westminster, W1J 0BD, from 21 September until 8 December. Tickets are £14 for adults, concessions available.

Also still on at the Royal Academy is the equally insightful Mexico and the architectural retrospective of Richard Rogers.

Last Updated 20 September 2013