‘…the attraction of drawing is that there is an immediacy and freshness…not so much that it’s simple, or reduced… it’s just brief, beautifully brief.’
Brett Whiteley, Difficult Pleasure
This exhibition brings to prominence Brett Whiteley's admiration for Zen philosophy through which a process of flow and focus was expressed in the act of drawing and painting. Whiteley travelled extensively throughout Asia, including India in 1965, and Japan in the last years of his life, experiencing at first hand the sources of his inspiration.
His ink drawings and paintings are accompanied by works of other Australian and Asian artists selected from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The quality which unites them is a fluid energy of the brush, extending through the media of ink, watercolour and oil paint, reflecting a lyrical response to the calligraphic style.
As well as Whiteley, artists included here are Peter Upward, Ian Fairweather, John Olsen, Tony Tuckson, Royston Harpur , Michael Johnson, and four of their Chinese contemporaries in the collection; Li Jinxue, HE Jianguo, Wang Ziwu and Nie Ou.
Barry Pearce, Head Curator of Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales said: 'this is an opportunity to bring together a selection of works influenced by, or in tune with, a special Asian aesthetic that began to infiltrate Australian visual culture during the 1960s, in particular the brushwork of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy.