ON EXHIBITION UNTIL SUNDAY 21 FEBRUARY
Destination Sydney brings together three Sydney public galleries - Manly Art Gallery, Mosman Art Gallery and S.H Ervin Gallery- in an innovative collaboration to present an exhibition of work responding to the exhibition's theme - the city of Sydney which has long been a point of focus and convergence for many artists born in other parts of Australia. The beauty of the city’s bush harbour foreshores, the quality of light and palpable sense of energy and movement within the city has provided many artists an ongoing inspiration and a wealth of rich source materials from which to draw.. The artists featured at S.H Ervin Gallery - Cressida Campbell, Grace Cossington Smith and Margaret Preston - have all been inspired by their experiences of living and working in Sydney. Sydney city and its harbour have become central themes within their artistic vision.
The genesis of the exhibition came from the inspiration that so many artists have drawn from Sydney. It presents a unique perspective on the exchange of selected twentieth century artists from inside and outside Sydney, from its unrivalled landscape and how their contributions have become synonymous with the visual culture of Sydney.
As the concept progressed, it became apparent that to respond to the brief in any meaningful way, the representation in depth of key artists was preferable to simply displaying one work from each possible artist. The artists selected were based on holdings in the collections of the three galleries, on their exhibition histories and following extensive discussion amongst the curatorium members.
Manly’s picturesque site makes it fitting for the iconic views by Brett Whiteley, the serenity and dream-like renderings by Lloyd Rees and the intuitive and painterly landscapes and interiors of Elisabeth Cummings. Mosman’s selection of John Olsen, Kevin Connor and Peter Kingston reflect those artists’ interests in the activities of Sydney and its harbour. Both Connor and Kingston have extended histories of working and residing in Mosman and neighbouring North Sydney, while Olsen's recent gift of The rolling sea (2015), a painting which references Arthur Streeton’s Sydney Harbour (1895), reflects his close relationship with the gallery.
S.H. Ervin Gallery’s commanding position atop Observatory Hill, alongside the Harbour Bridge, made the inclusion of Grace Cossington Smith a must. One cannot think of the amazing Harbour Bridge that dominates the city, without thinking of one of the greatest paintings of this subject by the quiet and modest artist, Grace Cossington Smith, who produced a pictorial structure in oil almost as impressive as the one in iron and steel. Along with Margaret Preston, a masterful image maker and modernist icon and contemporary artist Cressida Campbell, whose technical virtuosity & sublime subject matter feature in her works, this selection continues the S.H. Ervin Gallery’s commitment in promoting the work of Australian women artists.
By featuring three artists in each venue, the exhibitions will together provide a stimulating experience for viewers - a visual and poetic celebration of this great city, not only as subjects, but capturing the magical spirit that is contained in this unique city. Manly Art Gallery & Museum will present the work of Elisabeth Cummings, Lloyd Rees & Brett Whiteley and Mosman Art Gallery will present Kevin Connor, Peter Kingston & John Olsen. The exhibitions will include an active program of activities including poetry readings, lectures, artist talks, visits to specific locations, in which to focus attention on the work of these painters, and equally to remind them of the beauty and exhilarating atmosphere of Sydney. The artworks will be drawn from major public and private collections and as such, visitors will encounter major works by these distinguished artists, as well some unusual and the unexpected pieces.
Sunday afternoon @ the Gallery
Sunday 17 January at 3pm Join Lou Klepac for an exhibition floor talk and his inspiration behind the vision for Destination Sydney
image: CRESSIDA CAMPBELL The Ebro 1987 woodblock, private collection, Sydney