David Henderson 2012 Exhibition – Capturing Light at Venice

Artist David Henderson, capturing the light on the water of the lagoon at Venice, city of magic

It is always a pleasure to hear the latest news about Australian artist David Henderson, whose works are always captivating. Many people look forward to his return each year from Venice – La Serenissima, that most serene city of light in northern Italy, where he spends many months enjoying the ‘mysterious quality that transforms any subject’. The interplay of light on the colour contrasts that soften Venetian architecture, as it reflects in the rippling water of the lagoon, has been particularly seductive for David, and for all those over the past few hundred years who have sought to capture the very essence of this magical city. David won Best-in-Show at Queensland’s most prestigious annual charity art exhibition this year and has also been shortlisted for the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. He will return to Brisbane in July to finalize preparations for his 2012 Exhibition to be held in the Graydon Gallery at New Farm from 24th August to 2nd September. Among the oils and watercolours on display will be the study (L’Ospedale, Venice) painted in Venice last year in preparation for the larger work (Ospedale Civico, Venice) that won for him the Rotary Art Spectacular at Brisbane in April 2012.

The Canal near San Francesco courtesy artist David Henderson

For this latest show of new work to be held in the Graydon Gallery David has during these past months been working in and around the Rialto markets – the central markets near Venice’s famous Rialto Bridge. In particular, the lively and atmospheric fish market, with its series of covered loggias, has provided David with some interesting subjects. “I used to avoid painting the kinds of subjects in Venice that are seen on postcards, and was always looking for lesser-known places in out of the way parts of the city,” David said. “Now I don’t bother about that so much, though I do still like to paint the back alleys. “The famous places have a scenographic magnificence that’s irresistible, and it’s my palette, my selection of viewpoint, the time of day, position of shadows and so on, that makes the painting original” he says.

Venice is certainly a long way from Longreach in Queensland where David grew up on a sheep property. Certainly the contrasts between the wide brown land and the city seemingly standing on water couldn’t be wider, or more dramatic. David has been traveling in Italy for some 30 + years now and his exposure to its art and architecture has had a profound influence on both his life and work. David describes the Italian city where he spends large chunks of his time as the perfect ‘laboratory’ to investigate the expressive properties of light and tonality.”

Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, Venice courtesy artist David Henderson

“I’m drawn to the subdued harmony of evening, when the low sun casts surprising patterns of light and shade, and its mellow warmth seems to coax the colour out of objects”. said David “As Italy is further from the equator than Australia, light at this hour lasts longer. This means I have a greater window of opportunity to depict it – to get it down on canvas before the day ends.” he said.

L'Ospedale, Venice courtesy artist David Henderson

Venice consolidated her role as a maritime empire during the Middle Ages. It is during this period that the Byzantine influence became part of its artistic vocabulary that, when mixed with the native Roman style and the Gothic from Germany created an architectural style that is today regarded as unique

David Henderson observed “The famous artists of Venice were first and foremost painters of light. They were the first in the history of painting to really explore the more personally expressive possibilities of natural light and each painter developed his own characteristic luminosity and can be identified with it”. said David.

“Giovanni Bellini’s vision is mellow and contemplative, Titian’s has a worldly splendour, and Tintoretto’s bold contrasts are perfectly suited to his dramatic subject matter.”

La Serennissima - the most serene city, Venice captured so sensitively by artist David Henderson

David Henderson’s work is represented in private collections in Australia, Europe and America. He has worked as a tour leader and guest lecturer on more than 30 tours over the past sixteen years for Australians Studying Abroad, mostly in Italy.

This role is a perfect synergy of David’s artistic and academic backgrounds, his painting, his knowledge of Italy and the Italian language, and his ongoing fascination with Italy.

Having visited Venice every year since 2005, David is a fount of knowledge about this romantic city, to which he is so strongly attached artistically.

“The mutable character of images reflected on the water’s surface, one minute whole, the next fragmented by a breeze or passing boat into a thousand fragments; the Byzantine tradition of mosaic – glittering images formed of many squares of gold and coloured glass; and the ever-shifting light of the lagoon “

There will be up to 30 paintings in David Henderson’s 2012 exhibition – a combination of watercolours and oils, mostly of Venice, with some drawings of the figure.

In September 2012 David will lead a tour of the art and landscape of Bel Paesaggio – the Italian lakes, the Veneto, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre. There is no denying that David’s search for truth in the light, landscape, architecture and art of Italy is at the very heart of his work.

Show opens Friday 24 August (preview drinks 6-8pm)
Continues until Sunday 2 September (10am-5pm daily, or by appointment)
Graydon Gallery, 29 Merthyr Road, New Farm / Brisbane / 07 3254 2325


In Australia: 07. 3262 8967 / 0418 700 565
Email: [email protected]

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