Take nine iconic Australian artists, over 140 artworks, add three major independent Sydney galleries and you get the impressive summer show ‘Destination Sydney’. Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Mosman Art Gallery and National Trust S. H. Ervin Gallery have joined forces with curator Lou Klepac OAM for this unique exhibition.
Artists in the show are: Cressida Campbell, Kevin Connor, Grace Cossington Smith, Elisabeth Cummings, Peter Kingston, John Olsen, Margaret Preston, Lloyd Rees and Brett Whiteley. Uniting the artists and the works on display is the harbour city itself. Klepac says, “Artists who live and work in a particular city tap into the immense collective energy that exists there and extract their own individual visions from it. This is the alchemy of the creative process, which produces the spirit of the city. And no city has had the ability to inspire artists as Sydney has. Sydney is the city of painters and poets.”
While not all the artists were born in Sydney, they have been inspired by either stints living in it, or travelling through. Lloyd Rees was on his way to Melbourne from Brisbane when his ship stopped in Sydney and he discovered the city. John Olsen was born in Newcastle but grew up in Sydney, while Sydney artist Grace Cossington Smith spent her days on the North Shore painting Sydney’s people, landscapes, buildings and events. “There has always been something magical about Sydney,” says Klepac, “and many people have fallen in love with this city, for its marvellous setting; its great sense of freedom, and the variety of its various parts, from secluded beaches, to the amazing grandeur of the Blue Mountains against which the city is set, and its marvellous weather. Who has never experienced in Sydney the stillness of a perfect day?”
Each gallery will host three artists’ work in their entirety. Manly Art Gallery & Museum will cover: Lloyd Rees, Brett Whiteley and Elisabeth Cummings. Mosman Art Gallery: John Olsen, Kevin Connor and Peter Kingston and S.H. Ervin Gallery: Margaret Preston, Grace Cossington Smith and Cressida Campbell. The exhibition draws on works from major public and private collections and hopes to give visitors access to some of the great names of Australian art, showcasing the more familiar alongside some of the more unusual and expected pieces. Alongside the exhibitions there will be poetry readings, lectures, artists talks, visits to Sydney locations that are depicted in the artist’s works.
At the heart of the exhibition, Klepac says, is recognition of these artists and their contribution. “Every generation is inspired by the artists active in the immediate previous fifty years, or so. This represents the living art of our day and is a kind of visual mirror of our spiritual existence. This is what this exhibition is celebrating.”
Manly Art Gallery & Museum
5 December, 2015 to 14 February, 2016
Mosman Art Gallery
5 December, 2015 to 7 February, 2016
S.H. Ervin Gallery
11 December, 2015 to 21 February, 2016