abstraction - creation j.w.power @ NLAShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
Who was the artist J.W. Power? If you like most of us can’t answer that – he did spend most of his artistic life in Europe - then the National Library of Australia is where you’ll find a quite extraordinary exhibition that brings together the library’s collection of his almost too perfect sketchbooks, designs and art books with the paintings from the University of Sydney collection of this avant-garde artist.
Australian born into a wealthy family he became a doctor and went to England in 1906 to further his studies, which probably made his surgeon father and architect grandfather very happy but Power had a passion for art, realized in later life. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and his meticulous drawing and architecturally influenced abstract painting makes me believe as a surgeon his stitching would have been perfect. He collected contemporary art and though his substantial art collection no longer exists the ten pochoir prints by Pablo Picasso from that collection are on display. And sit very comfortably with the Powers.
But it’s the sketchbooks that offer an insight into his travels. From Paris to Bruges, Avignon to Africa and in Sydney in his youth, his constant sketching in an eclectic mix of books is a treasure trove of Power’s talent. It would seem he never made a mistake. My favourite a bunch of ‘tin men in a scrum’, my description of course, would make a perfect print for any football tragic.
We made the mistake of not acknowledging and celebrating his genius. This exhibition at the National Library of Australia, does correct that.