It’s a favourite fixture on our cultural boulevard… But step inside the Art Gallery of South Australia now, and things might seem a little unfamiliar.
When the immensely popular Impressionist exhibition packed up and shipped out last year, the Elder Wing got a new coat of paint, and shortly after, the gallery got a new Director. Rhana Devenport was coaxed back to Australia from New Zealand by the 42 thousand treasures we have here.
Also new, the re-hang of the Australian collection, to include an extra 200 pieces. We’re used to seeing works arranged by artist, or genre, or era – instead, the gallery now includes seven groupings of works that may not all be Australian, but certainly influenced our art.
For example, in the iconic Tom Roberts painting, “A Breakaway” the rider’s body echoes the flying figure by French sculptor Auguste Rodin… both artists striving to capture a sense of motion.
And when too much Australian art is never enough, there’s another treat in store, an upcoming exhibition, by one of our most beloved and thought-provoking contemporary artists. Ben Quilty’s art burned itself into our retinas as he turned his brush to subjects as compelling as our troops in Afghanistan, to the Bali 9, and more recently, to the plight of asylum seekers.
Curator Lisa Slade has brought together his works from across a decade and says Australians seem instinctively drawn to Quilty. “He has become a kind of cypher for some of the questions we have about ourselves and our world, and I think people are drawn to this clarity of vision, and his conviction.”
Another thing to love about the Art Gallery is that this exhibition… and in fact all exhibitions this year… are free! So check their website, and find out what else there is to discover throughout 2019.