To the Moon and Back via Geelong Art Gallery
In July 2019 Jane and I met some friends at the Geelong art gallery to view the Moon Exhibition across seven gallery spaces 'offering encounters with the Moon in five richly interconnecting themes: Journeys to the Moon; The light of the Moon; Phases of the Moon, Paper Moon and Evocations and Imaginings" (Credit Geelong Art Gallery) and it did not disappoint.
I will concentrate on a few of the artworks featured.
Trees in Moonlight painted 1955-57 below by Godfrey Miller (1893-1964). Miller believed that all forms could be reduced to a harmonising geometry; his goal, closely aligned with his view of the universe, was to capture the world in an "intensely felt, shimmering kaleidoscope in continual flux". This was painted at the Domain, Sydney, a favourite haunt of Miller’s (to his great distress, the trees were cut down shortly afterwards to make way for a carpark). I am sure Miller would have found solace in Joni Mitchell's anthem A Big Yellow Taxi "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot... written and recorded 6 years after Miller died.
Another from Godfrey Miller below. The painting forms part of a Nude and the Moon series which preoccupied the artist for almost a decade from mid-1950s until his death in 1964.
A complex geometric grid underpins Miller's compositions. Small squares and diamonds painted in tonal graduations emphasise the co-existence and interconnectedness of all matter. A principle based on Eastern Philosophies that Miller referenced as "Unity" .
Below, the radiance of the Moon rising, beautifully captured by featured artists
Steam trains, tug boats and ships are favourite subjects for many readers (including our esteemed editor Anne), so not to disappoint...
Our friend H from Geelong remembers standing in this particular spot at Lorne making it extra special...painted by Arthur Streeton.
This painting of the coastal area of Lorne is one of the most recent acquisitions of the Geelong Art Gallery. Streeton's depiction of the shimmering summer sky, its intense blue hue, the seemingly effortless painting of the trunks and canopies of slender young gum trees and how in this work we look down from a cliff top to the pristine beach below, all make for a stunning composition.
Lorne certainly provided the Streeton family with a memorable summer interlude in 1921 when this work was painted. The artist himself thought so highly of Ocean Blue, Lorne that he retained it in the family's possession for decades and later featured it in a deluxe publication of his finest works. (Credit:- cv.vic.gov.au)
I hope a fun way to finish my posts relating to the Moon is with a painting by Charles Blackman 1928-2018 of Joy Hester's House 1955. This was painted when Blackman lived in Avonsleigh, in central-eastern Victoria. Blackman said, "This was the first time ever in my life that I actually lived in the country...; I painted all day and the only time I went for a walk was at night. The landscape in Moonlight is the subject...You would walk home in the moonlight, no one had a torch. I was very haunted by it. The moonlight is a very haunting kind of thing."
Unless otherwise noted, text and pictures courtesy of Geelong Art Gallery.