Visual Feast: GEOFFREY DE GROEN EXHIBITION
At 75 years of age, Geoffrey de Groen is a grand master of Australian painting. Paul McGillick drops in on his latest milestone
It’s like waiting on the next book by your favourite crime writer. Another hit, another development, another step further into a rich imaginary world.
There are plenty of artists who repeat themselves. Not Geoffrey de Groen, who is known to have refused to continue painting successful series. Despite the pleas from collectors wanting one, he has always insisted on moving on.
For anyone who loves painting, his new show in Sydney is a must. It is yet another re-invention of painting. Tough but immensely pleasurable. Another exploration of what really good painting has to offer.
As always, the paintings are visual conundrums. Just when we think we know what we are looking at, they transform themselves. Now we are looking at something else. Then it becomes an intensely exciting and sensual struggle to reconcile the two.
But what is really special about this show is that it is not just a collection of paintings. This is an installation. A total experience where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
It is a meditative experience. Gentle daylight filters down through the gallery skylights, reinforcing the sense that these abstract paintings may actually be landscapes.
Actually, there are two parts to the show. In the first gallery, de Groen shows a suite of richly textured indigo paintings. Then, in the main space, strategically placed long, rectangular paintings are punctuated by a series of squarish pictures – languid sensuality interrupted by taut, assertive composition.
Just as we are not sure whether we are looking at landscapes or pure abstraction, so the textured surface of each painting seems to have endless depth. Just what colour am I looking at?
If you only go to one exhibition this year, make it this one. Geoffrey de Groen at Annandale Galleries until July 5.