The exhibition focuses on the youngest of the French members of the Etching Revival, Edgar Chahine (1874-1947), who was a prominent exhibitor at the Salons, the Venice Biennales, and modernist art galleries in France and Italy from the late 1890s to the late 1930s. Chahine also was an important illustrator of beaux livres by prominent authors, including Anatole France, Octave Mirbeau, Gabriel Mourey, Maurice Barrès, Gustave Flaubert, Colette, Charles Baudelaire, and the Frères Goncourt. The exhibition is particularly rich in both studio etchings as well as extremely rare artist’s proofs of Chahine’s book illustrations. In addition, the work of Chahine is complemented by comprehensive coverage of representative works by his confrères of the FrenchEtching Revival, including his predecessors Corot, Rousseau, Jacque, Millet, Daubigny, and Méryon as well as his contemporaries Lalanne, Bracquemond, Legros, Buhot, Lepère, Besnard, Raffaëlli, Forain, Steinlen, Helleu, Leheutre, Legrand, Jouas , and Béjot. These works are placed in a contemporary context through their contrast with works by more recognisably modernist artists, including Jongkind, Fantin-Latour, Chéret, Morisot, Maillol, Bonnard, Rouault, de Vlaminck, Laboureur, Denis, Frélaut, and Derain. Further, the overall range of these works is placed into international perspective by the inclusion of representative graphic works of artists outside of France working at the time, such as Klinger, Orlik, and Heckel in Germany; Rops in Holland; Haden and Whistler in the UK; and Pennell and Arms in the USA.
The works in the exhibition are drawn principally from the significant lifetime collection of Pierre Chahine, the only child of the artist, and his wife Anne. This collection has been supplemented by works from a major Sydney collection and the stock of a prominent New York art dealer. They include drawings, hard-ground and soft-ground etchings, drypoints, aquatints, book illustrations, posters, and illustrated menus by many of the well-known and lesser-known artists who were active during the Belle Époque heyday of the Etching Revival, which spanned France, Italy, the UK, and the USA. The themes explored by these artists focus mainly on landscapes, genre scenes, portraits, pastoral scenes, urban settings, and architectural works. Many of these works are of exceptional rarity and include unrecorded works and impressions that are unique or of which there are only a few known copies.
Artist’s Statement – Tree BalladTree Ballad is a series of landscape paintings that explore the mystical qualities of the natural environment, and reflect an intimate journey into an imagined whimsical world. Whilst the series is not a realist rendering of specific places, the landscapes depicted are based on the very real connections I feel with the natural world. I focus on evoking the feeling and mood of a landscape, rather than the physical place itself. To me, landscapes are inherently spiritual and a place of personal contemplation. For this reason, my intention is not to produce a pre-determined narrative, but to invite interpretation that is personal and subjective.
The Tree Ballad landscape series have involved a process of initially distilling images onto small sketches, followed by an intensive seventeenth century Dutch paint layering technique on canvas.
La Nina is said to be Spanish in origin and means “the girl”, (as apposed to el Nino, “the boy”). The wet weather that is associated with La Nina, has made the bush burgeon with thrilling life. Creek beds and pools of water create new directional flow; grey skies enhance the vibrancy of colour; light is intensified after rain; the nature of the new growth brings a certain softness in texture. This natural landscape presents as an intriguing paradox.
Whilst bodies of water lead the eye in and outwards through reflections, there is a mysterious chasm in time, yet it also appears infinite. Up close, is an unruly entanglement of prickly menace; from a distance, are distinct interlocking shapes that can be ordered by the eye into Cezanne’s geometry. Patterns that appear on the macro level are reiterated in the micro. Shadows of texture hem and define vibrations of light. I endeavour to capture some of these subtle ambiguities in my work.
I retrace the place, coming closer to the essence of form, yet ironically remove it, by carving back through the surface. The image becomes a visual description that blends aspects of botanical documentation (like the early Australian artists); a journey through nature, (influenced by Japanese scrolls); and a personal expression through patterns of whimsy, and reflections on experiences past, of the Carigal people.
A fascination with fine mark making and patterning brings the influences of printmaking into her paintings. She follows an ongoing interest in the power of art to transmit subtle or sublime states.
These paintings have a rare surface quality, built up of wax and egg tempera by carving, washing and reworking layers to create textures rich with traces of life and time.
J’aime les nuages…les nuages qui passent…
là-bas…lá-bas… les merveilleux nuages!Charles Baudelaire
I love the clouds…the passing clouds…over there…over there…the wonderful clouds.
Clouds are the things that dreams are made of, building up across a distant horizon, changing colours and shapes every moment and scattering away when you turn your head. Reflecting and highlighting the landscape below, splashing the valleys and mountainsides with light and shade or sweeping over broad stretches of shimmering sea.To me clouds are an integral part of every landscape providing drama, and in turn tranquility, either angry or calm the wonderful clouds provide me with a dream.
The more I paint, the more I see, and the more I see the more I want to paint, to try and fix that place or that sensation in a concrete image by the timeless technique of oil painting. By selecting an image or concept to paint and isolating a subject in a frame, I am inviting the viewer to consider my perception of that subject, to take a second look. My painting is all about the language of perception. My aim is to trigger an emotional response, an, ‘I know that’ moment. I believe that we all share a very sophisticated collective visual memory bank, and if an image draws a response then it’s doing its job.