Landscape of the Soul: Arthur Boyd’s works exhibited for the first time in Queensland

A collection of works by renowned artist Arthur Boyd, Landscape of the Soul, is an exhibition exploring a lifetime of his landscape paintings and is currently on display at Ipswich Art Gallery.

Curated by Barry Pearce, this is the first major exhibition of Boyd’s work to show in Queensland, and is part of a three-year national tour organised by Bundanon Trust.

Drawn principally from the Trust’s collection of the artist’s work, the exhibition features up to 60 paintings, including a group of masterpieces borrowed from major state art museums, as well as 20 works on paper, letters, photographs, and sketchbooks spanning almost half a century.

Boyd was born in 1920 in Victoria and came from a family of artists. He attended night classes at the National Gallery School in Melbourne in 1935 and was also taught by his parents.

Arthur Boyd grew up in suburban Melbourne and then travelled rural and regional Australia throughout the 1950s.

During this period he was shocked by the conditions in which Indigenous people were living in Alice Springs. This led to an exhibition of 31 paintings exhibited in Melbourne in 1958 which raised contentious issues about the on-going marginalisation of Indigenous people.

He moved to England in 1959 and eventually returned to Australia and settled in the Shoalhaven district of New South Wales in 1971.

Landscape of the Soul focuses on Boyd’s diverse notions of landscape and traces one of the most celebrated careers in the history of Australian art through this lens.

Visitors to Ipswich Art Gallery can view number of never-before-seen works created by Boyd as a teenager. The exhibition offers the first in-depth look at the artist’s powerful early grasp of landscape as a subject.

Bookended by Boyd’s youthful paintings of the Mornington Peninsula in the 1930s, and the final phase of his career depicting the Shoalhaven area in the mid-1970s, the exhibition considers not only the topographic landscape, but also the landscape Boyd carried within himself.

Arthur Boyd, Reflected kangaroo, 1976 oil on canvas. Bundanon Trust Collection

Ipswich Art Gallery director Michael Beckmann said Arthur Boyd’s landscape paintings connected deeply with Australian audiences.

“Perhaps because they were less depictions than they are expressions of his feelings, often appearing like operatic stage sets where highly emotive events are unfolding,” he said.

“That was the complex genius of Arthur Boyd.

“Having such a collection of Boyd’s works in our city is a significant achievement for the Ipswich Art Gallery.

“This exhibition presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Queenslanders to experience a broad selection of Boyd’s artwork and personal letters and photographs, and to appreciate the extraordinary lifetime of one of our national treasures.

“We worked in collaboration with Bundanon Trust and the Australian Government’s National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program to secure this exhibition,” Michael Beckmann said.

Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul can be viewed at the Ipswich Art Gallery with free admission between 10am and 5pm daily until 18 August 2019.

This exhibition is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

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