oh my god: anyone who has even a vague, passing interest in australian art NEEDS to go there. their permanent collection is like a ‘best of’ australian artists (painters, mostly), and while one might presume that as a small, regional gallery, the works on display would be inferior to those at, say, the ngv, it was not the case at all. perhaps i’ve just been to the ngv too often and thus some of the works have lost their appeal (or, perhaps i just don’t get some of the more ‘important’ paintings like the pioneer), but those on show at the ballarat gallery more than held their own (go here to see some of the highlights).
and the temporary exhibitions were also outstanding. there was a wonderful display of recently acquired ceramics and works on paper, all of which i wish i could own. but the one exhibition that stood out the most was aurora by lars stenberg and marion east.
these (hastily snapped iPhone) images above were painted by stenberg as a response to the contrast of the light of victoria to that of his native scotland. when i first moved to scotland i couldn’t get over the light, and how beautifully muted it was, particularly on a crisp autumn day. so soft and inviting, particularly when compared with the blinding, burning, headache-causing glare of the australian sun.
i must admit that i hate this bright light.
i hate how it saps your energy and how you can feel it penetrating your clothes and scorching your skin, even on a mild day. i hate how it makes everything look old, or cheap, or dusty. i hate that it makes colours all blend in to one, and that on a bright day everything is either blindingly white, or hidden in dark, impenetrable shadows. i will take a long winter over a hot summer any day, not because i prefer the cold or dislike the heat, but because i just don’t like the bright light.
but just look how beautiful this light is when seen through another person’s eyes.
perhaps i have it all wrong, perhaps i haven’t been looking properly, or i’ve been taking it all for granted. but i will try to look at things differently when summer inevitably comes about again, because images like these are just too breathtaking to miss.
see more lars stenberg images here