Since its establishment in 1984, the Charles Nodrum Gallery’s exhibition program embraces a diversity of media and styles - from painting, sculpture & works on paper to graphics and photography; from figurative, geometric, gestural, surrealist & social comment to installation & conceptually based work.
— Introduction by Charles Nodrum
This exhibition offers an insight into the shifting nature of tastes and styles. Many of the artists in the show were covered fairly extensively in Bernard Smith’s Australian Painting (1962) and Robert Hughes’ The Art of Australia (1966). Whilst coverage was continued by James Gleeson, Ross Luck and Christopher Heathcote in various publications, virtually all the subsequent histories of Australian art – by writers as diverse as Andrew Sayers, Christopher Allen, Sasha Grishin and Patrick McCaughey – have, for the most part, made only the briefest reference to the artists, though this can often be ascribed to the specific focus or direction those particular writers have taken in their publications.
They were certainly interesting times. The Helena Rubinstein Scholarship was sending significant artists overseas for further development. Australia contributed a regular contingent to the Sao Paulo biennales. And for the first time, international collectors and museums showed interest: London hosted two significant shows of Australian Art, the first at the Whitechapel Gallery and the second at the Tate Gallery - both of which were followed up with arguably the best group of all, Australian Painting Today, which, for administrative reasons failed to find a venue in London but did travel to Europe. From the United States Harold Mertz assembled probably the largest single collection of works from the period.
The period has been one of my personal interests and fields of collection for decades, and many of the works in this exhibition have been in either my gallery stock or personal collection for ages. In all the years of patient collecting, I’m still waiting for the market to tip in the same way it has for many of these artists’ British contemporaries, but whilst this has not yet happened, hopes persist, and meanwhile it remains a counter-cyclical paradise.