Recently I had the pleasure of viewing two wonderful exhibitions in Brisbane, one at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and the other at the Queensland Art Gallery. Getting to Brisbane is easy enough, just hit the motorway and find free parking in an area not far from the centre of the city. One of the nicest ways of getting to the chosen destination is via the Brisbane CityCat, I like to park near one of the stops and then relax and take in the view as the ferries take us up the Brisbane River to the Southbank precinct.
At GOMA the second contemporary Australia exhibition series celebrating contemporary Australian female artists was on display, the exhibition featured paintings, sculptures, photography, installations, video and performance by more than 50 female artists. It was fabulous, we walked through installations that consisted of coloured paper on the floor and watched as an industrial fan created movement in a doorway filled with gold foil ribbons. The QR codes made it easy to find out more about the artist and the inspiration behind the artworks, wi-fi is free so I didn’t hesitate to gather as much information as I could, but of course I remember very little now.
As enjoyable as the Contemporary Australia Women exhibition was, the one I was really keen on seeing was the Modern Woman, Daughters and Lovers 1850-1918 Drawings from the Musee D’Orsay, Paris. The Musee D’Orsay is one of my favourite galleries to visit and many of the artists, whose works now hang on the walls of the Musee D’Orsay, inspired me when I was first learning to paint and they inspire me still. Modern Woman explored more than 90 illustrations of women at the time of the Belle Epoque which was a significant time of change in France. Beautiful pastels by Degas, Cassatt, Breslau and Besnard had me staring closely at the their strokes, my face only inches from the artwork itself although I did try to avoid obstructing the view of other admirers. Some of the illustrations had pastels layered so thick it could have been paint, it made me wonder how they got the pastel to stick and what sort of paper they used. The women in the artworks were real women, unlike earlier artists who depicted women as goddesses and saints, this exhibition featured the beautiful and not-so beautiful, the old and the young, the rich and the poor. My art teacher found many faults with the illustrations, poor perspective and heads or limbs that were too small, large or short, however it did not diminish my enjoyment of the work I viewed. Who wouldn’t like to have the talent and skill that these artists had, even on a bad day?