Sydney Moderns - Art For A New World 6th July - 7th October 2013

Yesterday was an artist date scheduled in the diary to go visit the Art Gallery of NSW to see the curated exhibition titled 'Sydney Moderns'. I travelled by train to the city thinking how un-modern and antiquated Cityrail's 'rattlers' are. It got me to the city though (and a big thank you to Gordon for lending me his noise-cancelling headphones). 

The exhibition has been curated into various themes such as; 'Colour & Light', Colour & Music' & 'Still Life' etc. Having the luxury of several hours and a day to myself, I took my time in the space; exiting & reentering the show whenever a rambunctious throng of school children bustled through with their clipboards & worrisome teacher. 

There is a lot of artwork to digest in this show, but none which cannot be managed in a single bite. The colourful works of Roland Wakelin & Roy de Maistre are excellent examples of the modern aesthetic between the wars, capturing their interest in the relationship between 'colour & music' and 'colour & light'. Grace Cossington Smith's industrial depictions of the Harbour Bridge mid construction emphasised the rhythms of the modern age; a city in change, surging toward one of the most urbanised nations of the time.

Painting was not all about the changing face of a city however, artists such as Margaret Preston devoted many a canvas to the genre of Still Life. On the matter, she says- 

Why there are so many tables of still life in modern paintings is because they are really laboratory tables on which aesthetic problems can be isolated.
— AGNSW Exhibition pamphlet