Saturday, 5 January 2008

Standing and staring at walls

Today it rained in Sydney. Not heavy. More in a relaxed Saturday way. It started sunny but headed the dull way as G and I walked through the park, where they are setting up the Festival First Night as part of the Festival of Sydney.

We were on our way to the Art Gallery of NSW that is well known as the home of the Archibald Prize. It's a building we walk by often on our regular walks through the gardens and the Domain. After Julian told me it is one of the top ten places you must visit in Sydney according to some random guide book, I thought "who am I to argue with a top ten list?" and decided to pay it a visit.

G and I spent a good 3 hours there, starting with lunch in the cafe and then casing the whole joint except for the not so appealing serious looking English portraits with ugly gold frames. We'll save that for next time.

The highlight for me, in their great collection was a painting by surrealist James Gleeson called The Arrival of Implacable Gifts. I'm not sure if photos are allowed but after standing in front of it and bending my head and twisting and turning, I decided that I'd frustrate other viewers less if I simply stole a shot and moved on. At the shop we searched for a print but only found a postcard which I bought. It's really worth going just to see this painting.

The Arrival of Implacable Gifts

The other artist who I found amazing was Jeffrey Smart. I scored a mounted print of Central Station in Sydney and a few postcards of his. He's a modernist who concentrates on urban landscapes. He wanted to be an architect but ended up studying art. I enjoyed reading that although his art has been called surreal, he argues that it is the world that he depicts that is surreal. I agree with that :)

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