Australian Symbolism – Art of Dreams @ Art Gallery of NSW

For the first time a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW will explore the influence of a literary and artistic movement flourishing in Europe at the turn of the nineteenth century on Australian artists and their works. Symbolist artists sought to express and explore the emotional experiences of the individual by quite subtle means. It started with the French poets and spread to painting and the theatre, influencing literature of the twentieth century in varying degrees. The exhibition will feature 70 paintings, sculptures, photographs and decorative art objects, showcasing the Australian artists response.  Bertram Mackennal’s exceptional life-size sculpture Circe 1892–93, will be on loan from the National Gallery Victoria. He portrayed the quintessential Symbolist femme fatale. Other well known artists on display, such as Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and George Lambert, are taken from a list that is both impressive in its size and scope. This is an exhibition sure to delight. Painting European ‘idylls’ of the time also redefined our own sense of time, space and place. Design in architecture and gardens took up symbolic means of expression, in a movement that enjoyed dreams, legends, mythologies and the natural world. At Paris during the 1890s Rupert Bunny’s Pastoral c1893 was highly acclaimed, depicting idyllic ‘Arcadian’ dream worlds with figures transfixed by music.

Exhibition: Australian Symbolism: the art of dreams – Dates: 11 May – 29 Jul 2012, Where: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney – Admission Free

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