Not just Astro Boy or Portraits – Art Gallery exhibits

March 12, 2007 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Anime & Manga, Australia, General, Out and About, Random, Sydney | Leave a comment

Over the past two weeks I’ve made my way to the Art Gallery checking out the Tezuka, Archibald and Artexpress exhibits. I enjoyed each but at the end of the day I question the cost.

The Tezuka exhibit was interesting and engaging. I had limited exposure to his work, with the exception of that old chestnut of Astro Boy although I was aware that he was one of the father’s of modern manga and anime. While he has created any number of pieces this exhibit showed a snapshot of the variety and intensity of his work but graphically and story-wise. Seeing his shifting styles, within the broader context of his work, was valuable but for those who aren’t fans or intrigued by the art I seriously doubt that the entry fee is worthwhile. While obviously there’s an economic drive for profit, if one of the goals is to expand understanding and recognition of manga then I wonder if perhaps a free version, or at least a small sample taster gallery, would have been beneficial. The exhibit showcases a broad spectrum of his work but of course the Art Gallery shop only had Astro Boy paraphernalia.

I was pleasantly surprised at my first Archibald Prize. I only found Iemma’s portrait particularly bland. Otherwise, there was such a variety of subject and styles it is impossible to get bored and at the end of the day I could not choose my favourite; I was drawn to most of them for one reason or another. I didn’t realize that there was more than portraits, with the inclusion of the Sulman and Wynne competitions as well. I enjoyed the landscapes in the Wynne collection – full of evocative and memorable images of our surroundings – or what we imagine our surroundings could be. The Sulman collection, with its representations of the every day was fun and a nice and thoughtful way of ending the walk around the finalists. Honestly, I feel that this collection was worth the money, predominantly because of the variety and number of paintings and the relative fame (evidenced by the crowds) that is generated each year by the competition.

Artexpress – a collection of HSC (Year 12) final year works – is currently on display and is free as part of the standard gallery. This a wonderful chance to see the growth and development of Australia’s young artists. Each piece has a brief description by the student and while these can be a little cloying it is genuinely refreshing to see a sense of hope and optimism (at least in the ones I read). Title wise my favourite is the pertinent “Taking photos and having small adventures”.

Lastly I finally asked an attendant why the outside of the Art Gallery is incomplete. Apparently, work was underway but then World War I came along and resources diverted elsewhere and afterwards they never got around to finishing it and now in perhaps a postmodern twist it will remain incomplete. The attendant likened it to Shubert’s Unfinished Symphony.

At least that’s cleared up now.

While these collections are in town you should check them out and if you’re interested in anime/manga and the styles employed go to Tezuka’s as well.

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