Sunday, June 7, 2009

Style,drawing, collage and Brett Whiteley

9 Shades of Whitely is an interesting exhibition  at Bathurst Regional Gallery - it was great to visit three of my favourite works of his that have been missing lately from the AGNSW. No matter how many times I see his lush brown abstracts, i am totally engaged (less so with the more illustrative, representational paintings of Lavender Bay, Birds etc). How does he get those browns???
What came across loud and clear was that he painted what he wanted ("the subject matter doesn't matter necessarily") but it was in his own inimitable style ie his solutions to the problems presented to him by his paintings are solved in a consistent manner, with an unselfconscious brush stroke - all of which forms his style or the indelible print on a painting that is Whiteley. 
There is a great video at this exhibition: some really informative stuff on drawing for the would be artist. As the artist states, drawing is all about "what is to move, what is to stand still...what is to be ambiguous and what is to be clear...what is to be reduced and what exaggerated...what distorted and what is real...what is smudged and what is defined...the drawing is the combination of what it looks like and what it means...what needs to be violated in order to get more power into it..."
I had also forgotten (how could I?) how much collage and mixed media are in his paintings - Charcoal, cardboard, string, fibre tipped pen, plaster. Also noted this to try in my own landscapes.
What do you think is the crux of a good drawing? What defines a person's style?

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