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You are here : Home : Contemporary Australian : Life's a Beach


Life's a Beach

2 November - 27 November 2013

A Summer Group exhibition featuring new work by Michael Bell, Priscilla Bourne, Jun Chen, Peter Cole, Nick Collerson, Lucy Culliton, Joe Furlonger, Cameron Haas, Julie Harris, Pru Morrison, Jason Phu, Naomi Ullmann, Alan Young, and stock works by Peter Powditch. Also featuring collection works by Charles Blackman, Robert Dickerson, Joy Hester, Jon Molvig and William Robinson.

Sydney has just experienced one of its hottest October days on record, and as the temperatures rise and summer gets closer our thoughts inevitably turn to the beach -especially in Sydney, home to some of the finest in the world. Life's a Beach celebrates the return of sunnier times in more ways than one, as both the art world and the population start to emerge from the gloom.

While coastal scenes are often seen as the poor cousin to Australia's rich tradition of landscape painting, it is images such as Charles Meere's Beach Pattern and Max Dupain's Sunbaker that are the most widely recognised representations of Australia. Indeed, with more than 8 in 10 Australians living within 50 kilometres of the coastline, it is this type of landscape that we are most familiar with, and that resonates most.

Reflecting this tradition, Life's a Beach contains works that differ in time, place and style, but that all evoke our shared history of life near the coast.

The present exhibition took shape when Evan Hughes was suffering a migraine. Ray was in Venice holidaying and the gallery was absolutely dead. It was the first week of the Abbott government and the promised showers of gold hadn’t precipitated. Nonetheless, near the bed where Evan was napping was a beautiful Joy Hester of an umbrella. The idea for a beach show took shape as he passed Dickerson’s Jesus Christ on Bondi Beach, a William Robinson Kingscliff beach canvas and Jon Molvig’s bathing booths. Over the months as the show took shape, the gallery started receiving visitors again. The market began picking up. Sunny times were returning and Life’s a Beach, so named because the pun intimated the original feeling of the times, has become a talisman for the return of the happy times we associate with summer. We look forward to presenting a small suite of collection works alongside the main exhibition.

Life's a Beach features new works by contemporary artists. Lucy Culliton has painted a series of works depicting small figurines that her mother crafted out of seashells. These works offer a nostalgic reminder of beach holidays and the souvenirs collected along the way. Drawings by Joe Furlonger highlight the leisure of excursions to the coast with depictions of people sunbaking and playing on the sand. Julie Harris's suite of drawings offer a more abstracted view of the beach, but the reduced palette of predominately blue and ochre and the running of the gouache down the paper brings sand and sea instantly to mind. Life's a Beach also features new works from Michael Bell, Priscilla Bourne, Jun Chen, Peter Cole, Nick Collerson, Cameron Haas, Pru Morrison,Jason Phu, Naomi Ullmann and Alan Young, and stock works from Peter Powditch, making for a rich overview of our beach culture.

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