We have taken an unexpected trip interstate to our nation’s capital city – Canberra – over the last few days to meet with a client – hence not much art happening. It’s a while since I have been there & I had forgotten just how lovely it is. Canberra was designed by a Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin & his wife Marion Mahony Griffin is a beautiful city that has wide roads & a combination of native & European trees. Marion was the first registered female architect in the world. They were both from the ‘Praire School’ of architecture & believed that it was important to integrate the natural environment with the built environment in a seamless way. It is a configuration of circular boulevards & connecting sightlines that are incredibly beautiful. It being Autumn (Fall) in Oz means that we saw magnificent vistas of amazing colour, framed with our evergreen natives. I also had the opportunity to visit a current exhibition at the Australian National Gallery called Turner to Monet, a collection of 103 landscape paintings that were just magnificent. The depth that Turner achieves just with tonal change in colour is a wonder to behold…….other artists, whose work I was not familiar with were impressive as well. This one was my fav. The colour & tones of the sea were just indescribable. Tiny nuances of change in tone that created a whole shape of itself. VERY beautiful.
I discovered the work of Ivan Shishkin (a Dutch Russian painter) from 1880’s – hauntingly beautiful work on treescapes. The ones that I saw in the exhibition are not pictured in the link, they were deep moonlit night tones & hauntingly beautiful trees in beach scenes with deep paynes grey skies.
Coincidentally we visited at the time that our nation commemorates the service of our armed forces – called ANZAC DAY It has been quite a few years since I visited our National War Memorial & I was amazed at how much money & work had been applied to create appropriate representations of Australian service in the various conflicts we have been involved in. There is a big wide boulevard with intermittent reflection points, each of which have a monument to either a particular war, or to one of the branches of our armed services. At the top of the boulevard is the War Memorial building which houses artifacts, interpretive info & original multi media that you can view.
memorials were huge edifices……it fascinated me that we always choose art to soften the blow of the terrible reality. Their forms were all hard surfaces with primarily angled & harsh shapes, there is nothing kind about war, other than the mateship & friendships formed that for some, last a lifetime.