February 2015: The Chinese Gardens at Darling Harbour in Sydney

Two things I’m rather fond of are visiting art galleries and visiting gardens. Here are some photos from a visit to the Chinese Gardens of Friendship at Darling Harbour in Sydney. I also recommend the White Rabbit Gallery for some great art that just about always inspires a conversation.

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Canberra, Arthur Boyd, Gratitude

Oh NaBloPoMo, could you be any other month than November? January, February, July, August all excellent choices. No?

We take a brief break from Murray / Murrumbidgee / Lachlan River fun times and flash forward to the first weekend in November. After 160 hours of work in two weeks and a pretty hectic month before that I took a well deserved weekend off and drove to Canberra to, as a good friend of mine would say, “Appreciate the f$&@ out of some art.”

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On the road – Lake George.

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Sculpture at the National Gallery of Art

My quarry for appreciation was an Arthur Boyd exhibition “Agony and Ecstasy.”

I very much enjoyed the exhibition, particularly seeing the development of Boyd’s style and the scale, brushwork, light and colour choices of the Nebuchadnezzar series. I failed to feel any sympathy for the artist in his caged painter series. A whole room of enormous, technically brilliant works dedicated to expressing his struggle as an artist to paint and create what he liked, to create for others, to earn money to live and meet other people’s expectations. Poor diminutive tormented artist.

It seems to me that everyone makes these choices and struggles with them. Painter, writer, construction worker, teacher. Follow passion, earn a crust. What to keep and what to forgo. Time spent, time sacrificed. Perhaps it was Boyd’s intention to show how universal these sentiments are and to demonstrate gratitude for every marvellous, heartfelt brushstroke. In tribute, I offer these archaeologists in a cage.

 

 

 

The Mildura Arts Centre and the Rio Vista House

The roads (and planes) in my life often lead to Mildura on the banks of the Murray River. Population of around 30,000. Award winning vanilla slices, an excellent Thai restaurant, one of the many stomping grounds of Big Lizzie, riverboats, wine and all the amenities one needs to set out on an adventure to the Murray/Murrumbidgee/Darling Rivers wonderland. In a July visit this year, I visited the Rio Vista Homestead, once the home of the Chaffey Brothers and now a regional art gallery and museum. I learnt interesting things about irrigation, took in some art and then nursed a cup of tea as I read Mildura Living and eavesdropped on other people’s conversations.

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Allowing fish stocks to replenish

One of the highlights of our trip to Paris was sneaking into the Louvre on our expired Museum Pass and picknicking on the steps of one of the galleries. We carefully ate our baguettes and smelly cheese over the free museum guides before being scolded and moved on by the security guard. Not a single crumb was spilt and no artwork was harmed. Because really, the people who can’t afford the seven euros in the museum cafés for an espresso coffee and three half mouthfuls of cake don’t deserve low blood sugar.
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Next time maybe we should try for the fastest time through the Louvre.
Bande a parte vs the Dreamers
We stayed until closing time, greedily eyeing every painting and statue we could as the staff gently corralled the lingerers towards the exits. Magic.
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Budgie

And here’s one I knocked up earlier. And by earlier, I mean back in the 90s.

 

More from Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island and the Bienalle Festival

On the last day of the Bienalle arts festival in Sydney, I caught the free ferry over to Cockatoo Island. The island has changed a lot since my last visit in  2008. There have been some interesting choices made regarding the historical values of the island and their integrity in order to make the island a functional venue. Quibbling aside, it was a beautiful sunny day and many people were out enjoying their weekend.