|Brett Whiteley blazed to international recognition in his early twenties and enjoyed one of the most prodigious careers in the history of Australian art. Since his death in 1992 at the young age of fifty three, his public persona has remained that of the brilliant enfant terrible of the art world.|
Lloyd Rees worked at his art all his long life until his death in 1988 at the age of ninety three, achieving recognition mainly in his later years, when he became venerated as one of the true sages of his craft.
Though their lives and careers could not have been more different, the two artists shared not only a mentor/pupil relationship, but a friendship and a deep mutual respect. In a letter he wrote to Lloyd Rees shortly before Rees’ death in 1988 expressing his gratitude and profound admiration, Whiteley wrote – I was a fourteen-year-old boy when after school I visited for the first time, a one-man show of your landscapes at the Macquarie Gallery. I had been drawing and painting since early consciousness and… had no real idea of direction…But these little pictures signed in the corner L. Rees, seemed to have filtered and sometimes dredged the whole of Europe through them. They contained nature AND ideas, they contained naturalism but seemed also very invented, and the adventure of them was that they showed the decisions and revisions that had been made while they had been painted. Here were pictures that had for me an Einsteinien leap forward, for it showed just how flexible and wide the implications of painting could be, and it set me on a path of discovery that I am still on today.
Brett Whiteley openly paid homage to Lloyd Rees in several works. Rees first became aware of Whiteley’s interest in his work when, attending an exhibition in Potts Point – I went in and saw a landscape that touched me at once because it was a sort of twilight. …I think it was Goat Island from the west and it was such a lovely tonality, I thought “what a beautiful picture”. And when I went up to it the title of it was 'Homage to Lloyd Rees'…That endeared me to that young man.
On The Road To Berry, exhibition catalogue,
Museum of Modern Art At Heidi, 1993
Curated by Barry Pearce, Head Curator of Australian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and Wendy Whiteley, this exhibition features over 50 works selected to highlight the relationship between the two artists, focusing on both the vast differences in their work, as well as the similarities and influences that connected them.
I’ve realized looking at the works for this exhibition that Lloyd influenced Brett more than any other artist. Looking at this material, I’ve realized it with a shock.
Look, Art Gallery of NSW Society, Feb 2001
|On view:||Brett Whiteley Studio|
2 Raper Street
|Telephone:||(02) 9225 1744 or recorded information (02) 9225 1790|
|Hours:||Saturday & Sunday only|
10am to 4pm
|Media Information and Interviews:||Eva Choc, Press Office|
Telephone (02) 9225 1734