Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lunch with Brack & Dali for tea

Making the most of a day off last week I finally went to see exhibitions of John Brack and Dali at the NGV galleries. I used to frequent art galleries when I was in my 20’s but I find it harder now I’m working full time so I was glad I managed to find the time to view both artists as I admire them both for different reasons.After lunch it was then to Fed Square for Brack. I love retrospectives as having all the paintings in the same space it becomes clear how the artist developed and evolved. Brack started painting subjects very architecturally, added to this his ongoing commentary on post war suburban life, gave his work such a distinctive style quite unique in Australia at the time.
The first John Brack I saw was at the Art Gallery of WA in the 1980’s – one of his pair of ballroom dancers painted in black, white and lime green. I loved it. It was wonderful that the piece was included in the exhibition. I loved all the other ballroom paintings included as well such as Latin American Grand Final and didn’t realise that they were the inspiration of Baz Lurhman’s flashback scene in Strictly Ballroom. He managed to capture the same glamour and wonderful movement as Brack did. His later work removed subjects and concentrated on inanimate objects which although had much meaning behind be honest it was a bit lost on me. I feel that his human subjects proved a better source of his style.I then headed to St Kilda road gallery for High Tea to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Well, as a lover of High T – I must admit the gallery’s was v. good. After about 3 bottles of sparking the HT troupe made our way to the exhibition. Surprisingly after viewing Australian post war artist to the King of Surrealism was actually not such a leap – but it could have been the wine playing art travel agent.
Now Dali was never one of my favourites. It was always too ‘weird ‘when I was younger and quite frankly ‘messy’. Ah how our tastes change when we get older [thankfully for the better]as the exhibition was amazing. Subtitled ‘Liquid Desire’ it showcased some of his most spectacular works. The selection was so varied from painting to film to jewellery, sculpture and animation. Again I think some of the work was lost on me and I question the critic’s text to explain the painting – sometimes it comes across as dictating a subjective point of view of the art to the viewer – however his landscapes and portraits really touched me. The choice of colour palate and how he framed the scene [especially those of Spain] clearly showed he had a great understanding of his subject as well as his skills as an artist – same way Brack framed Collins St at 5pm – different artists & styles but creating wonderful art.
I really enjoyed the animation of Destino and thought it was a shame that Disney didn’t proceed with Dali’s animation at the time – its amazing the man had the intelligence to engage an artist but not the balls to carry it through.
Even if you are not a fan of either artist its a fantastic opportunity to view both of these masters work in the one space.

John Brack: Inside and Outside – until the 9th of August 2009 - NGV at Fed Square.
Dali: Liquid Desire – until 4th of October 2009 - NGV at St Kilda Road.

5 melting clocks out of 5 ballroom dancers.

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