Tim Bowtell - 'Greta Thunberg leading the Next Generation' - Upstairs Downstairs Exhibition, Gallery 2 to Saturday 7 March
Title : Greta Thunberg leading the Next Generation (work in progress)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Artist : Tim Bowtell
Although this painting is not finished – there is more to do, the artist Tim Bowtell has kindly agreed to the request to exhibit it for this collection of NEA Studio Artists’ work.
This is a traditional painting with a contemporary and topical subject. Actually, the idea of a traditional painting with a contemporary and topical subject is traditional as well. Artists such as Delacriox, David, Picasso, Arthur Streeton and Juan Davila and an army of others have successfully stung the public consciousness with artworks which bring timeless ideas and values to the fore.
Jacque Louis David’s “The Oath of the Horatii” (1875) depicted a Roman patrician holding swords upward for his sons to take in commitment and pledge to defend Rome. Originally exhibited in the Paris Salon, the painting created a great controversy which carried across to the evolving political climate in France at the time. 1875 was the year of the establishment of the Third Republic in France. The painting now stars in the Louvre.
Arthur Streeton painted “The Last of the Messmates” in 1928. The painting depicts a lone tree standing in a cleared landscape. Cleared as far as the eye can see. The land is littered with the trash of the former Dandenong Ranges forest. Streeton and the Australian painters of his “Impressionist” group focussed on the Australian land, the environment and its particular beauty. “The Last of the Messmates” was a protest painting, foretelling the end of the forestation of the Dandenongs – once called the lungs of Melbourne….
The centre of this composition is Greta Thunberg. The three figures on the ground in blue suits raise their arms and form a pyramid composition drawing the eye to Greta. Behind Greta are her followers. They are all young. She leads them away from the devastation of the landscape ravaged with fires and polluting smoke. The blue suited figures in the foreground attempt to stop Greta, but her eyes are firmly raised above their entreating arms. One of the raised hands holds a lump of coal.
This painting was commenced well before the current fire season began. Some people will find it quite unsettling.
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