DRAWINGS: THE HEIDE COLLECTION
Drawing is widely considered to be the most personal and immediate of art disciplines and the selected works highlight the individual and autographic qualities of each artist’s draughtsmanship. However, they also make it possible to identify the characteristic modes of drawing integral to the ethos and temper of the times.
Many of the works were formerly owned by Heide founders John and Sunday Reed. They present a rich account of the artists associated with Heide’s history and the advent of modern drawing in Australia. The circle surrounding the Reeds in the 1930s and 1940s ― Sam Atyeo, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Arthur Boyd and John Perceval ― used drawing in ways unprecedented in Australia. The drawings they made were not just studies for paintings but independent works that possessed a sense of immediacy and vitality. On display are iconic together with lesser known works by these artists, including Nolan’s earliest abstract drawings; the expressive wartime drawings of Boyd and Perceval; and powerful images from Hester’s celebrated Faces and Love series.
By the 1950s the autonomy of drawing as an independent art form had been affirmed and a diversification of styles and techniques emerged. Such developments are reflected in the selection of more recent works in this exhibition, ranging from the surrealist-inspired ‘automatic’ drawings of Erica McGilchrist; the lively outpourings of John Olsen, in which he fuses the acts of drawing and painting; to the commanding charcoal drawings of Peter Booth, which apply the process of drawing as a direct expression of feeling. Curator Linda Short is available for interview.