Summer Exhibitons @ NGA and NGA ContemporaryShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
The Summer Blockbuster for the National Gallery of Australia is the much anticipated Tom Roberts exhibition and it fulfils all the expectations of the curatorial abilities of Anna Gray with a considered and extensive restrospective for this great artist. Significant and stunning is the Big Picture – Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, the impact of which with canny lighting is as impressive as the first time you see other great paintings in the galleries of Europe, particularly for me Rembrandt’s Night Watch in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The Big Picture needs to be in this gallery and not up the hill.
The familiar paintings take us all back to the mandatory prints supplied to public schools long ago and the pleasure of the original in Shearing the Rams, A Break Away and Coming South is in the detail youthful eyes overlook. The media launch posed the new NGA ambassador Simon Baker, Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Director Gerard Vaughan in front of Shearing the Rams; if only we could have added the aroma, the noise and the characters to the occasion.
The gallery has been through a major change, but the facelift for this 30 year old is comprehensive and sensible and has been worth the wait.
Meanwhile down the road and along the lake foreshore to the NGA Contemporary, make time to be entranced by the installations of Ken and Julia Yonetani where ‘The last temptation’ and ‘The last supper’ have transformed this space that has been through many incarnations. Curator Deborah Hart chose black walls for the installation of chandeliers created in response to the Fukushima Dalichi power plant accident after the tsunami in Japan. It is a collection of uranium glass chandeliers in luminous lime green and represents nuclear powered nations in diminishing sizes proportional to their nuclear output. It’s harmless, you wont need a Geiger counter, and the glow is from the UV light configuration and quite enchanting in this space.
In the front of the gallery is a nine metre banquet table opulently displaying a feast of oysters, lobsters, bread lemons and grapes as well as all the utensils and candelabra – as a symbolic feast with not a soupcon of deliciousness; all made of salt sourced from the Murray -Darling Basin. As a salt lick for a bunch of cattle it would be a feast but for us the symbolic is inextricably linked to the rising salt levels in the Murray -Darling basin and the irrigating that continues to deplete the water supply. How did they get the salt to stick together for the moulds?
Tom Roberts continues at the NGA until 28 March and Ken and Julia Yonetani at NGA Contemporary until 3 April.