Thursday, 16 April 2015

TOD Tour, Day 65 - Rockhampton Art Gallery

Into the tropics
A quiet day in Rockhampton after the wonders of Carnarvon Gorge.

We went to the Tourist Information Centre, arriving just as the police did to chase down a would be car thief, who when challenged, drop his plastic bag of possessions which included his wallet. He is now helping police with their enquiries. His nomination for the Darwin Awards will follow.

The Art Gallery is currently hosting a visiting exhibition of clothing, ornaments, photos and furniture from the Art Deco period. Art Deco was a visual style which began in France after the WWI, possibly in response to the devastation wrought upon them and the destruction of so much of their public infrastructure. It was reflective of the development of machines and a movement towards rectangular shapes, often elongated to the heavens as a form of aspiration of a new age of human development. The influence of the earlier period of Art Nouveau, with its rounded organic lines, waned quickly, although Deco furniture and buildings often had golden statues and figures at their pinnacle, perhaps harking back to the Nouveau period. 

This collection included a number of artworks we have seen before at the New England Regional Art Museum in Armidale: "The Yellow Gloves" by Esther Paterson being one of them. The clothing was divine darlings, all feathers and bold colours, green being a recurrent theme. There was even a "pub portrait" of a game between the Australian and English rugby league teams. These portraits, painted onto glass panels, were commissioned by Tooth & Co, the dominant beer company in NSW during much of the twentieth century. There were over 6000 of them in NSW pubs, the vast majority individually painted to reflect the pub they were to hang in. People of my vintage and older will remember them - usually an action scene from a rugby league or cricket match - hanging in bars owned by Tooth & Co right across NSW or often on the exterior walls.

Upstairs was an exhibition of and by women which are part of the permanent collection of the gallery and an outstanding display of ceramics, including works by icon Australian potters, Greg Daly and Victor Greenway. The painting that caught our eye was by a local Rockhampton artist, who died in his middle forties only two years after Brett Whiteley. It was a painting greatly inspired by Whiteley lines and body shapes.

The afternoon was cooler and windy and showers set in for the night.

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