Back to Queensland Art Gallery

December 27, 2023 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART | 0 Comments |

Happy as a pig at QAG

(Southbank, Brisbane, December 2023)

We had previously visited in 2021, and were keen to return, not merely to beat the heat. We had not been totally impressed with some of the work on offer before, either, but today we ignored the tat and saw some great things new and old.

Agitprop can be beautiful too. Anne Wallace’s “Passing the River at Woogaroo Reach” (2015), inspired by survivors of Wolston Park psychiatric hospital, which gave Bedlam a bad name, is a gorgeous rendering, fit to accompany a tale with a mythic theme:

We loved Rupert Bunny’s “Bathers” at QAG previously, and this time his “Una and the fauns” (c. 1890), inspired by Spenser’s The Fairie Queene:

Russell Drysdale is an acquired taste, but we liked this “Man feeding his dogs” (1941), with its arty staginess, and low horizon, as would be seen from the canine point of view:

Back to Girls’ Own Annuals for this fine look at a bush heroine, “The fair musterer” (1935) by Hilda Rix Nicholas (the subject is the artist’s son’s governess, Nance Edgley, at Knockalong Station, Delegate, in New South Wales) :

There was a dedicated exhibit of the works of Isaac Walter Jenner (1836 -1902), who migrated to Australia in 1883 and established himself in Queensland as a landscape artist, combining, in oils, an English romantic sensibility with the different light of his new home.

On the Brisbane River (1893)

River scene (1899)

Hamilton Reach (1885)

We ignored the rent-a-mob aspect of Jemima Wyman’s “Aggregate Icon (Kaleidoscopic Catchment)” (2014) with her hooded, tie-dyed protesters (protesters these days signalling virtue rather than trying to make decent points) and admired the working of prints into a pretty mandala of pleasing political irrelevance:

These lovely ewers (representing Earth and air respectively) are c. 1850s and styled after the German porcelain manufacturer, Meissen:

Fiona Hall’s “Australian set (from ‘Paradisus Terrestrius Entitled’ series’, 1998-99), aluminium and tin sardine cans giving forth much except sardines, were of interest. Here’s an extract:

And another curio – Midge Johansen’s “Sculpture: Housebound” (1982) encapsulated lockdowns of decades hence:

And now, time for some Ancient Greek grumbling by L. This fine plaster bas-relief (of the myth of Hercules fighting the River God) by Rayner Hoff, “Hercules, Achelous and Deianeira” (1920), has some problematic lettering inscriptions.

We’ll let L comment:

The Greek styling for Achelous is the most problematic: Α Ξ Ε Λ Ω Ο Σ. This transcribes as Athelōos. Theta (th) – the second letter – is wrong.  It should be  Χ – chi; Achelōos“.


But for now, goodbye from Queensland! Hot up there except within vitrine:

A better photo of the snowman is in our previous post.


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