The second part of this special post brings me to the Aboriginal exhibition ‘Indigenous Art: Moving Backwards into the Future’.
It starts off tentatively with a small range of recent art designed to wet your appetite, you’re then led into a room filled with Aboriginal sculpture. Wooden totem-style heads sit next to Eucalyptus panels of decades-old Australian art, with an attention to detail and narrative that’s hard to describe verbally. The subsequent rooms follow on with large-scale canvas paintings that up to 12 different Indigenous artists may have contributed to. All of them taking part in a journey to document birth, life and death. All part of the concept of ‘Dreaming’ that incorporates the past, present and future into a complete and present reality. As the world’s longest continuing art tradition its truly a gift to be able to see how Aboriginal art has evolved since the early Nineteenth century.
Another floor led to yet another series of temporary exhibitions, this time focusing solely on new contemporary art by international artists, new emerging Australian artists to well established ones. This brings me finally to John Wolseley’s ‘Heartland & Headwaters’.
A simply stunning arrangement of landscape art devised by many years of study, research and involvement with local Indigenous tribes to learn and understand the dynamics of the natural Australian landscape. From sculpture, printmaking, watercolour, mixed media, drawings, paper rubbings to collage. Such a combination of works could never fail to disappoint.
Wolseley seems to touch a nerve with the pinpoint accuracy of a navigator studying the finer details of the landscape with a fine tooth comb. Leaving no stone unturned. He digs deep (quite literally burying his works for months) to discover the truth of what lies at the heart of this untamed continent. It’s the sympathetic manner in which he documents his journey visually that really astonished me. A gentle truthfulness in the way his work is trying to reconnect us all with a love for nature.
‘Heartlands & Headwaters’
National Gallery of Victoria
Please take note that your art may flourish from reading this blog 🙂