Friday, 4 May 2012

A Few of my Favourite Things

I've been down in Canberra this week and I went to see my book on display in the Australian War Memorial.  It was never intended to be displayed in a glass case as I meant for it to be handled and for the viewer to interact with it, but it looked great all the same, and I've had some feedback from an unexpected source that the way it was displayed illustrated the concept of  'not talking about it' perfectly.

What an added bonus to also see on the same wall one of Raymond Arnold's beautiful prints, Blood and Bone/Haemorrhage poem from his Memory/History series of ten monumental prints, produced in Paris after a residency in France visiting the battlefields of the Somme.

I first saw the exhibition of these prints in Brisbane at Gallery 482 in 2000 and they made an enormous impression on me.  There was also a large and beautiful book about the Memory/History series at this exhibition and I must check to see if the State Library of Queensland has one in its collection, as I'd love to see it again.

The Memorial also had on display a great digital print from 2009-10 about civilian deaths in the Iraq war by Michael Callaghan.

I was delighted to come across an interesting series of pen and ink drawings by George Grosz whose work is well known for showing the horrors of war and for attacking war-time capitalism.   It was great to see works other than those by the official war artists.  

While I was in Canberra I also enjoyed seeing some other old favourites of mine in the National Gallery - Fiona Hall's beautifully worked and detailed series of metal sculptures called Paradisus Terristris, an example can be seen here. I enjoyed seeing Pollock's Blue Poles, Jasper John's lithographs, and Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly series again, a couple of Ian Fairweather's paintings, Baldessen's Pears as well as a wall of those gorgeous incredibly detailed linocut prints by G.W.Bot.  I'd seen these prints at Grahame Galleries in Brisbane years ago and one of them was reproduced on the exhibition card and it still sits on the cork board behind my desk.  One of the most stunning things though was an Art Deco sterling silver and wood tea and coffee service made in France in 1925.

Baldessen's Pears, NGA

I also fitted in a visit to the National Library and saw an interesting exhibition about Patrick White (and another Ian Fairweather above his desk) and an exhibition of Treasures, which included lots of manuscript and booky things like a beautifully illuminated Book of Days from the 15th century, early printed books including a page from a Gutenberg bible, a book by William Morris and lots of similar objects.


ronnie said...

oooo how exciting to see your work at the memorial..... if I weren't so bone tired I would make a more erudite comment about the presentation (which I don't mind I must say) ... next time you get down 'this way' we'll have to have a catch up somewhere - candybar is only a 3hr drive 'over the hill'...

Helen M said...

Gee ronnie I had no idea you were only 3 hours away - I'll definitely keep that in mind if I get back down that way. I guess you're bone tired because you've been working so hard for the big opening day tomorrow - hope everything goes fantastically well, all looks great in the photos on your blog.