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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia • Page 51

Location:
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Issue Date:
Page:
51
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

Pica El The Good Weekend: Arts and Entertainment a bos mm Hie Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday, February 28, 1981 sceaiirclhi IF'-- Some new exhibitions Art Gallery of NSW: Lady (Warwick) Fairfax Photography competition Witters: Margaret Dodd Rex Irwin: Giselle Antmann "Echoes" Macquarie: Christian Clare Robertson: Landscapes from Darwin HoUsworth: Joe Rose Another Dimension. Patrick Hockey Paintings Drawings. Jonathan Bowaen Landscapes figure studies Hogarth: BuluBulun Barkpaintings from Amhein Land Wagner: Wolfgang Grasse Blaxland: Michael Meszarod Sculpture Medallions. Hanrut Haf pel Tapestries East End Art: Neville Dawson Structure, Process Time rTHE ARCHIBALD, Wynne, and Sulman exhibitions for open today, and once: "gam at the Art Gallery of NSW the curtain lifts on the faiost popular art shows of the They are Sy'dney's answer to the Paris salons of the nineteenth centu-y. '''At no-other time does public Interest in local, as distinct from international, art run so high.

While that' interest inquisitive, notorial is focussed mainly on the it spills gratuitously over into the other competitions. As media event, however, only: the Archibald attracts interstate coverage. This year it is disappointing in hi unevenness in the view of the judges, indeed, we have portraits in i search of a prize. But only once, in recent times, has it been relegated to decision in favour of a return to "sanity" in art The Archibald, this year, takes portraiture a long distance from those dreary rows of past dignitaries, into unblushing nudity in Frank Hodgkinson's Clifton Pugh and Dr Colin Jack-Hinton in Amhem Land, and even further afield in Kevin Connor's Portrait of Margaret Con-' nor in Paris. This large, airy painting -is more a portrait of Paris than of Margaret, who emerges, ghost-like, as the one static element in the all- embracing, curvilinear sweep of buildings, bridges and river.

Just as good art (to quote Clement Greenberg) creeps up on one, so does this work, despite its unfinished, sketchy but spontaneous look. The Hodgkinson, a little flashy perhaps, is also deceptively better in its naturalistic embrace of atmosphere and tropical growth, than it looks at first glance. As a marginal portrait, more in the category of genre, the Connor especially provides a refreshing diversion from the three serious contenders for the award. They are Connor's Portrait of James Gleeson, Keith Looby's Anne Summers Gods Police Dolls dominating the. exhibition, Geoff La Gerche's double portrait, The Anguish and Anger Of Xavier Herbert With the La Gerche, nothing is in reserve: that is the strength and substance of his magnified hyper-realism.

Emotion is visibly expressed in each crevice of Herbert's mobile, wrinkled face, in the curl of his thinly drawn lips and in the bloodshot eyes, dimmed by age' in one painting, and with defiant, question-me-if-you-dare look in the other. This is the man himself a stubborn, rugged and gritty Cap-ricornian. It is all there, with the shifts in focus between the two near-identical versions giving the work a heightened sense of reality. What more could one ask of por-' traiture? Except to say that this work is not in the same class as Connor's James Gleeson, where each mark and electrically charged line point inward, capturing not so much the external reality but the essence of his sitter. Looby has painted Anne Summers perched oh a high stool dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, holding aloft a bizarre Looby doll.

Other dolls absurd gnomes stand by, and a row of Looby's nude females (dolls of another kind) are in the background. One is conscious not only of how she is posed, but also of her attire: with Looby the garment is both image and symbol. BBSS BmmmWmmmmtM lUtill in i'iIiiM I li iiWi' 1 1 in niri'" uMljiBtlipiii. I'J i I Mu 1 111 1 fl 11 IIJ of Xavier Herbert, by Geoff La Gerche. Right: Anne Summers Gods Police Dolls, by Keith Looby tue of tastelessness.

The Summers portrait, by this count alone, exerts an extraordinary if slightly repellent fascination. The once pervasive Meldrum influence resurrected from the grave. is poorly represented by Glenn' Dick's Donald Exton, and L. Scott Pendlebuty's His Honour Judge Lazarus. And while on the debit side W.

B. (Wes) Walters, in his portrait of Roger Woodward, has him looking for all the world like an undertaker presiding at a funeral, we have presenting another more encouraging face to the Archibald Salva-. tore Zofrea's particularly fine double-image Portrait of Father. This is joined by Phil Clarke's witty, well handled Clive Evatt, wearing a real, slice-of-life tie, by Reinis Zusters's affectionate, episodic painting of the late Bill Pidgeon a good Zusters with' John Bloomfield's Keith Looby, indicating a turning of the corner for this promising artist The Sulman, given over to a revival in contemporary terms of nineteenth-century subject painting or the genre picture, is a mixed bag reflecting a diversity of styles. It includes among all too few really commendable works an outstanding Brian Dunlop, skilfully painted and of staggering size.

fit, fi" ft, scape view, with one painting tending to cancel out another. It is not helped by hanging like with like, On one wall we have hill landscapes, dotted with gumtrees, and on the other a row of dot and gestural impressionist paintings. One exception is Neil Taylor's dean, fresh an He hasn't made a commercial film for a few years, but he hasn't really been away; and any art-house audiences who expect his latest film to be a return to the good old "sensible" days of Breathless and Vivre Sa Vie are likely to be disappointed. But then so will those who look to Godard as a pioneer of radical cinema. Every Man For Himself is an elegantly fractured narrative in four parts (Imaginary, Fear, Trade, Music).

The first three sequences put into the foreground one of the three main characters; Denise (Nathalie Baye), a young woman who has dropped out of television to fit for The week in art Nancy Borlase the tack court, with pride of place given to landscape. That was in i 970, the year John Olsen won the Wynne and the Archibald reached its lowest ebb. To survive.it had no other option but to subject itself to a radical rejuvenation. There is no doubt that Whiteley's sensational "trifecta" win of all three 1978 awards, followed last year by the controversy surrounding the overlooking of Keith Looby's P. P.

McGuinness with Paddy Doll and the awarding of the prize to Wes Walters's Portrait of Philip Adams, helped to fan interest. i I still believe that portraiture today offers a real challenge to the Despite often well-based criticisms of the Archibald and the "terms of its bequest, I refuse to join its fashionable band of knockers. If anything, it is even more relevant now, with the return to the figurative image, than it has been for the last two decades. I Outmoded conditions of selection are ignored in favour of a greater expressive licence. The preferential system of voting by ballot, which made a mockery of last year's judging, has been replaced by an open vote.

This doesn't preclude, of course, a similar Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People Compared to the general level of exhibits in all three competitions, this remarkable painting of the interior of a room in the Old Physics Building is in a class of its own. No other work can touch it. It adds another dimension to the gallery and to our sense of cubic spaced taking the eye back beyond the room to a window view of buildings. With its still-life arrangement on a low, horizontally placed table, a mat, a sink, a workbench, a door half opened, stillness and silence prevail. Dunlop excels himself.

This year's Wynne labours under a monotonous sameness of land- This lack of context is a drawback in the film, since the times are not well suited to passing off middle-class angst and guilt as a sample of the human condition. Nevertheless, it's a powerful beginning for a new director and its sobriety and stem avoidance of sensationalism put it well beyond the range of the average family film. WHILE in America established directors flower and new ones begin to blossom, the French director lean-Luc Godard has been congratulated-, (also by Americans)for a new season in his career with Every Man For Redford and de Niro in the ring drift of sand and floating forms and reflections, in Creek Swipe. Outstanding paintings are William Delafield Cook's homage to Eugen Von Guerard his A Water" fall (Strath Creek) and Some Houses at Gundagai, Sam Fullbrook's The South Brisbane Reach, and Robert Juniper's Uanna. live in the country, Paul Godard (Jacques Dutronc), her unpleasant ex-lover, and lsabelle (Isabelle Hup-pert), a prostitute.

They all come together for the final sequence. It's a very pretty structure which allows Godard to rework some faded themes about love, sex and capitalism. FOR anyone with energy left over from this rush of new releases, one of the best films of last year's Sydney Film Festival is screening at the Walker Street Cinema this week Shohei Imamura's Vengeance Is Mine. Oscar Above: The Anguish and Anger The most striking feature is the raffish, wide-brimmed hat, an ingenious slice of reality shading her face, projected at right angles to the painting. Thus Looby sets up a play between shadow and substance in a diversified composition in which Summers emerges as a strong physical presence.

This work, with its emphasis on pictorial elements, its tinge of car-toonery never far from the surface, lacks the concentrated expressive power of his P. P. McGuinness. But here more so in his Sulman exhibit, Suburban Classical Looby is an artist who makes a vir Both films come to us dripping with awards, appearances on innumerable "10-best" lists, and academy nominations, Both are long, slow, deliberately constructed essays on a side of American society. But if Robert Redford's directorial debut in Ordinary People is impressive, Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull is the kind of major achievement which a director could spend a lifetime trying to surpass.

A great deal of publicity has been accorded to Robert de Niro's performance as the boxing champion Jake La Motta and it's certainly true that the delirious realism which led de Niro to eat and box his way to becoming virtually identical with the original has brought off one of the most remarkable accomplishments in the history of that style of acting. It is no discredit to de Niro to say that Raging Bull is also much more than a showcase for the skills of a great actor. His performance is moulded by work with images and sound which shifts for us the emotional possibilities of film; and Scorsese's direction of the Paul Schrader-Mardik Martin screenplay gives something rare in American cinema a lucid involvement with a Raging BulJ.M Hoyts Centre Ordinary People, Pitt Centre Every Man For Himself, Showcase ONE OF the cuqpus things about this year's Academy Awards array is that the major contenders, Ordinary People and Raging Bull, are both what conventional wis- dom might well call fairly dull' films, It's amusing to imagine a gaggle of script assessors clucking over equivalent projects here a domestic drama of divorce on the Upper North Shore, and a life of Les Darcy. "Where's the plot? Where's the international appeal?" they groan. "When will this industry grow up?" Heritage Auctions 34 MORLEY AVENUE, ROSEBERY Monday 30th March, 1981 Antique Furniture Fine Arts at in in central character with whom it is absolutely impossible to identify.

The Jake La Motta of the film is a brutal, pig-headed bruiser with a furious temper, flashes of charm and a dimly literal relationship to language. His wife comments that one of his opponents has a pretty face. For Jake, this has only one meaning so he beats the wife and splatters the pretty face all over the ring. He's a survivor of the Bronx slums of the Depression slums treated by Michael Chapman's The week in films Meaghan Morris camera as rancid, cramped and grim little warrens quite lacking the patina of tough romance we've grown used to in ganster films. But even 'as a survivor, Jake is nothing very special.

He can box. So he thumps and grinds his way through bout after bout, spends his spare time eating, brawling, romancing and hitting his wife, then finally gives in to pressure to throw a fight or two so he can have a crack at the world middleweight title. What gives this simple story so much impact on screen is the extraordinary balance held between a narrative which comes in slices (this fight, that fight, various domestic upsets), so that there are no climactic moments, and a way of filming which keeps every moment at the same pitch of emotional intensity. All of the characterisations are superb, with Joe Pesci playing the perfect foil to de Niro as Jake's determined brother Joey, and with Cathy Moriarty playing the perfect trophy Jake's beautiful and much-abused second wife, Vickie. All three communicate in a continuous low, husky rumble which rises abruptly to a blare or a shriek in the rhythm of daily life.

The portrayal of Jake's relationship to Vickie is almost as agonising as the boxing scenes. The latter are more sensational time after time, two drooling creatures burst against each other in slow motion as blood spurts, teeth spray out in the air and noses splash over the remains of human faces. But. the violence from the man to the woman is even more frightening in its one-track, obsessive insanity. It's an exhausting, even horrifying experience which leads some people to find Raging Bull a patronising film which coldly puts the beastly proles under the microscope.

I don't think that's so, although the film is full of a sort of icy fury at a social condition. Scorsese's one false step, in seems to me the way he sticks a quote from the Bible at the end warning us to be wary of harsh and easy judgment. That point, I think, was made long before by the film. WITH Ordinary People, we are on much safer, conventional Academy-Award territory. It's a serious liberal melodrama about the emotional state of the nation, firmly in the tradition of previous social-concern winners like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Coming Home, and Kramer Vs Kramer.

In recent years, the Americans seem to have developed a taste for testing their social health rating through the ups and downs of The. Family how it's doing as an institution, what its problems are, how many psychological disorders are cankering away behind its brave but battered facade. Redford's film is the kind of detailed, searching drama we can now expect from this tradition, and in some ways it really is a Part Two of last year's Kramer Vs Kramer. The separation between husband and wife comes at the end instead of the beginning, the son is older and has traumas of his own, and the miracle-working therapist is on-screen instead of behind the scenes. But in both cases father and son end up together with the mother set aside and in both, our "ordinary people" are those average Americans who live in glorious surroundings, make fabulous incomes, and boast terrifyingly white, even teeth.

I'm not suggesting that these people don't have family problems, or that Alms shouldn't be made about them. It's just that the family is the only problem they seem to have. As another drama of the American dream, however, Redford's film is remarkably restrained. It pulls none of the emotional blackmail swifties used in Kramer Vs Kramer (like close-ups on a bleeding child); but it exerts a subtle, constant pull on the heartstrings as the characters tear themselves to pieces. Calvin (Donald Sutherland) and Beth (Mary Tyler Moore) are a lovely couple with a lovely son Conrad (Timothy Hutton).

The only trouble is that Timothy has, as he puts it furiously, tried to "off himself" after the death of his brother and that, in the aftermath, it emerges that Beth can't forgive him and at times can't stand him. Hutton as the nervy, sad, inhibited youth does an excellent duet with Donald Sutherland, who seems to be in his element as a nice man with a sweet smile, a suggestion of warmth and sensuality, and an air of being slightly dazed by life. Mary Tyler Moore is wonderfully blood-curdling as the brittle, beautiful woman who is too controlled to care much about- anything except appearances. However, this perfect housewife is given no history in the film; and I must say that my attention was often broken during the screening by the vulgar thought that if I had to run that house, I wouldn't care much about anything either. JL vrs vr mum na Now you can be guided around rat tties Australian Ajfiieaum f5l FilFine George III Double Handled Cup by Paul Storr London 1812-13 Sold Fine Art Auction February 23rd $6,600 Antique Estate Jewellery at 6.00 p.m.

Obligation and cost free valuations will be given for articles submitted to auction, Fine Art Deco Diamond Bracelet in original fitted leather case by Drummond. Amongst the Jewellery to be offered: 30th March, 1981 These auctions will provide both our vendors and collectors with a unique opportunity to submit to auction and purchase) Antiques, Jewellery, Australian etc. of the finest quality. For confidential appointment please telephone: (02) 6692622. JEWELLERY: Mr.

Jonathan Edwards FINE ARTS: Mrs. Dalia Stanley by hiring an AUDIOGUIDE a guided tour around the Museum by the Director himself on cassette only $1-50 single $200 double the australian museum Hours: GEOFF KGRAY PTV. LIMITED 34 MORLEY AVENUE ROSEBERY, N.S.W. 2018. 6-8 College Street, Sydney Sun.

8 Mon. 12 noon-Spm Sat holidays lOam-Spm Closed Good Friday. Christmas Day.

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Pages Available:
2,300,129
Years Available:
1831-2002