Brisbane’s influence on the art of Charles Blackman, one of Australia’s most important artists, will be explored in a new exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) from 7 November 2015.

‘Lure of the Sun: Charles Blackman in Queensland’ features over 50 paintings and works on paper drawn from more than 12 private and state collections, and explores the connections and friendships Blackman made while living in Queensland.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines, CNZM, said ‘Lure of the Sun’, presented as part of the Glencore Queensland Artists’ Gallery program, tells a fascinating story about the development of one of the country’s foremost artists.

‘When the Sydney-born Blackman first ventured across the border into Queensland in the late 1940s he was welcomed by several notable friends and creative locals, including artist Laurence Hope and future wife Barbara Patterson,’ Mr Saines said.

‘These friendships and connections had a lasting influence on Blackman’s creative oeuvre and his practice from this period.’

Brisbane-inspired works from Blackman’s famous ‘Schoolgirl’, ‘Faces and flowers’ and ‘Alice’ series form a significant part of ‘Lure of the Sun’ and will be on display alongside works by fellow Australian artists Laurence Hope, Laurence Collinson and Jon Molvig.

Michael Hawker, the Gallery’s Associate Curator of Australian Art, said the artist had maintained a significant connection with Queensland since his first visit and Brisbane remained an important influence later in his career.

‘While in Queensland, Blackman became acquainted with the early works of Sidney Nolan whose formative influence on the young artist can be seen in works such as the 1952 painting from the Queensland Art Gallery Collection, City Lights.’ said Mr Hawker.

‘The work that most honours the friendships that the self-taught Blackman forged in Brisbane is The family 1955, a painting of Judith Wright, Jack McKinney and their daughter Meredith which recalls a winter’s day picnic at Cedar Creek near Mount Tamborine.’

To mark the opening of the exhibition, exhibition curator Michael Hawker will be joined by one of the subjects of The family, Meredith McKinney, to discuss Brisbane’s literary and art circles of the 1950-60s. This special event takes place in the QAG Lecture Theatre at 1.00pm on Saturday 7 November.

Accompanying the exhibition is a richly illustrated catalogue featuring essays by Michael Hawker, QAGOMA Conservator of Paintings Anne Carter and Michele Helmrich, Associate Director (Curatorial), University of Queensland Art Museum. The publication explores Blackman’s years in Queensland, focusing on the artist’s creative friendships and reveals the findings of recent research into Blackman’s materials and techniques. $39.95 and available at the QAGOMA Store and online.

‘Lure of the Sun: Charles Blackman in Queensland’ is a free exhibition showing in the Glencore Queensland Artist’s Gallery, Queensland Art Gallery from 7 November 2015 to 31 January 2016.

About The Artist
Born in Sydney in 1928, Charles Blackman left school before the age of fourteen, and from 1942 until 1947 worked at the Sydney ‘Sun’ in the compository, process engraving and art departments. His first visited Queensland in 1948 when he met his future wife Barbara Patterson.

Blackman was awarded the Helena Rubenstein Travelling Scholarship in 1960 and in February the next year the family sailed to London. Blackman exhibited his work to wide critical acclaim, before returning to Queensland in 1966, and shortly moved to Sydney.

In 1977 he was awarded the OBE and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal. During the early 1980s he returned to Queensland and lived at Buderim and became interested in theatre design. During these years the subject of rainforests and sugar-cane fields dominated his production. He was instrumental in setting up the Moët & Chandon Australian Art Fellowship in 1987. He now resides in Sydney.

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