9 April 2015

Nostalgia but more

Easter was a visit to family in Adelaide and no arts except a few hours to fritter at the Art Gallery of SA and a walk through my old university. I was drawn to AGSA for a few special exhibits but the institution is a hugely attractive and moderately sized place and I enjoy my visits immensely. There are some old favourites. Circe, who appears in two guises - a Bertram McKennal bronze that I admired during my university years (this one is diminutive; there's a life-sized take in Melbourne) and a painting by JW Waterhouse (the great grandfather of a friend at university). The real-world body-shape of the Jean Broome-Norton Torso amused me, being just opposite the slender male-envisioned Circe. There was just a thin representation of Greco-Roman sculpture, Renaissance Italian, Flemish, mediaeval, a Pompei fresco, a Pointillist Pissaro landscape (the newest acquisition), several Rodins, some Islamic and Japanese and Chinese art, a wonderful pre-Raphaelite-era decorative arts room with William Morris and Tiffany glass (thanks to a major local collector of the time). Then the other side of the building, decorated in Victorian colours, busy with works from the earlier colonial days through Australian impressionists to modernists and contemporary and indigenous (Boyd, Bunny, Frome, Glover, Heysen, Namatjira, Nolan, Roberts, Smart, Tjapaltjarri, Yunupingu) in all formats with some fabulous early decorative arts. The cafe was a buzz, the exhibition of Piranesi prints of decayed Rome (printed for the Grand Tourists of the 16th Century) was a pleasant nostalgia and a personal journey exhibition of Adelaide-based Magnum photographer Trent Parke demanded more time than I had to give it. AGSA is a great little gallery; visit if you have the chance. To end, here's a pic of the main reading room of the Barr Smith Library at Adelaide University, just another blast from my past.

  • AGSA
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