“Sidney Nolan: A New Retrospective,” curated by Barry Pearce. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Austrailia. Through Feb. 3.
Sidney Nolan produced as many as 35,000 paintings. His most prolific periods often came after a bad review, according to his adopted daughter, painter Jinx Nolan, who spoke with Louise Schwartzkoff of the Sydney Morning Herald. “He’d say, ‘I’ll show the bastards’ and then he would have an extraordinary output of energy and paintings,” she says. Elizabeth Farrelly, another SMH reporter, reviews the retrospective this morning. “It’s very Australian, this heroic outsider stance, at once voluntary and involuntary; something we might even call a national self-image. And it informed Nolan’s choice of subjects, as well as his trajectory….Even as a child, Nolan intuited his outsider status, recalling later a sense, in the school parade ground, of ‘the atoms, or electrons or something, streaming through [him] at an enormous rate’. Nolan, like any painter worth his salt but a lot better than most, wasn’t painting stories or people or nature. He was painting his own inner landscape, arid and luminous, peopled and charred. The mask was his own, as heroic outsider, doomed poet, martyr; his mask, and ours.” Read more. See images of his paintings at Eva Breuer.