I recently checked out this show at the Art Gallery NSW. What can i say? It was interesting, however, It seemed to skim the surface of each ‘period’. Roughly 10 paintings were chosen to represent each of 8 different ‘periods’ (90 paintings in total). I’m glad that i found a free ticket flying past me in a gust of wind as i sat outside the gallery on a park bench waiting for a friend. $20 is a bit steep, but like eating kale, you just gotta do it because it’s meant to make something better on the other side or something. One thing is for sure though and that’s the inextricable link between Thomas Coles and William Keith’s Romanticism paintings (1840’s) and Stephen Shore’s ‘Uncommon Places’ more than 100 years later (and Ansel Adams too). My friend and I looked at William Keiths “Yosemite Valley” (1875) and looked at each other and practically said “Stephen Shore” at the same time. What does this even mean? I’m a photographer, and i went to the show to try and find a link between old school american paintings and the new-(ish) school of american photography or did i? I realistically probably didn’t, but it became apparent as i went through the show. I reckon the show would have been so much more awesome if Stephen Shore’s, Ansel Adams, etc etc photographs were in it too. As if the curators just blurred paintings and photographs together, to recap both mediums over the last 300 years (adding photographs from the last 100 years) in a exhibition that would take a mammoth 10 hours to walk around (ok maybe not, but that would be rad). Anyways, Here are some rad paintings i liked.
Herd Boy by Frederick Remington (1900-1910)
"Slaves" by Thomas Hart Benton (1924-1927)
"Picnic" by John George Brown (1872)
"House at Dusk" by Edward Hopper (1935)