Australian Fine Artist

Ian Potter Gallery

University of Melbourne
Three Floors of Art for All

I have named this blog as I have because there was such a wide range of styles in this gallery. The ground floor had portraits done in a variety of styles by artists such as Sydney Nolan, Albert tucker and others. Most were of a modern style and some quite confronting.

Joy Hester’s faces reminded me of what my therapist asked me to do to help me get in touch with my unresolved stress and anxiety issues. Not really a happy place for me to return to. Other works by Judy Cassab were really lovely to look at. The eyes in particular were so full of character that I felt I had an insight into the personality of the sitter. Her use of colour was also very attractive for me. There were little highlighted object such as a ring or light on the cheeks that drew my attention.

On the first floor I was in my element with my “find of the day” a Frederick McCubbin painting “A Frosty Morning“. Colour all over the place and no detail anywhere. A landscape with colour showing through colour, paint on paint with such texture and big bold brush strokes added to subtle dashes, subtle light and shadow. I sat in the middle of the room and was pulled into this painting and felt calm, at peace and relaxed just looking at it. I kept saying “beautiful, beautiful, beautiful”.

I also found a lovely little water colour by William Turner, another of my very favourite painters. It looked like one of his sketches from his books. Soft, subtle, no real detail, and quick lines to depict any objects. I like Turner because I have learned from him that light is beautiful, colour can give emotion to a work and that you only need to put in just enough detail, not everything to make a painting.

There was also a wonderful Streeton painting of The Domes of St Marks which when you looked at it closely revealed that there was not a lot of detail either. There was implied detail, and such great use of light and shadow. Many parts were very simple lines. The very blue sky with the light building and shadows in the foreground gave this work so much depth I felt like you could nearly walk into it. There was still heaps of visible brushstrokes in the painting and it never looked like a photograph or an attempt to look like one.

I also enjoyed the Rupert Bunney painting, George Bell’s painting “The Visit” and the Yarra River painting by Buvelot. There was also a little painting by William Strutt called “Race For Life Black Thursday 1863”. It was a small oblong painting of a bushfire at night, and someone on horseback fleeing from it. It had simple colours – being a night scene, but there was so much movement and texture in the fire especially that I found I really liked it.

The third floor had very modern sculptures and I had a walk around but they held little interest for me, so I went back to look at the McCubbin some more. I would have liked to go into the pottery room but it wasn’t open yet.

Overall though, I liked this gallery, they also have an amazing leadlight window in the atrium going up through three floors with the staircase going up near it. It is the first thing you see as you walk in and it is both beautiful and striking. I commented to the attendant that the architect did a great job designing the building to house the window as he did, I loved it.

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