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.
The two untitled works by Simon Klose in NEA's current 'Upstairs Downstairs' exhibition do not refer to any specific experience or subject. They are intended to be autonomous experiences in their own right, although others may understand them through their own associations or experiences.
The works are intended to be read as an ‘object’ and a ‘subject’ where the object and subject are as close as possible to being the same. They employ the traditional relationship of viewer and subject, although they differ in that the smaller is closer to a pictorial representation whilst the larger work is enhanced by the wall on which it is located.
What may be experienced by a viewer at best will reflect the many and layered processes and decisions which have led to the present works. The process of their making employed sensing as well as thought, a form of engagement that best communicates making and meaning that is embedded there in the work. A work is completed to attain a ‘truth’, not simply a preference or a liking – that comes from having a primary objective in mind.
Then, I naturally discover beauty as well, so the traditional trilogy of perception, truth and beauty is there.
‘#15’ – Bruce Buckley
Number 15 is a painting from an image created by a photographic process. Using a photograph circumvents some of the problems artists encounter with drawing, but not all. Whilst the looking and putting of lines and tones is avoided the other pictorial elements remain. Composition, colour, translation of one medium to another. The process brings its own unique challenges to resolve before a successful compelling image can be created.
Number 15 has some very close tonal values – the nose, the eyes and the number fifteen ticket are the three elements which allow us to see the image. They enliven the image, the rest is mainly the black hair of the coat.
The animal looks directly at us. Its baleful stare states facts and asks questions.
NEA Exhibitions Coordinator
Over the past few years a 'between exhibitions' tradition has been established of exhibition team members bringing work from the upstairs studios into the Exhibition Gallery (Gallery 2). These exhibitions now have a title - 'Upstairs Downstairs'..
The current, 'Upstairs Downstairs' exhibition features work from studio artists Mervyn Beamish, Bruce Buckley, Frank Burgers, Katharine Martin-Burgers and Simon Klose; costumes from the Killer Pig Productions team and a large work in progress by Tim Bowtell. There may also be works on display by other local artists during the exhibition.
'Upstairs, Downstairs' exhibition, NEA Exhibitions Gallery, 12 January to 7 March 2020
Benalla Art Gallery
Shepparton Art Museum
Wangaratta Art Gallery
Benalla Camera Club
Broken River Potters
Broken River Painters
Broken River Writers
Wots4Me Benalla Youth
Art Gallery on Ovens
Bush Gatherings -Violet Town
GANEAA (Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance)