267 Church Street, Richmond 3121

P: (03) 9427 0140

gallery@charlesnodrumgallery.com.au

— Short introduction by Charles Nodrum

GUY STUART

From Rural to Urban

Guy Stuart's first solo show of paintings and drawings at Gallery A, Melbourne in 1969 focussed on vats and bowls and upright forms he called ‘walls’.  His second show one month later titled Lock Span was a proposal to make a huge public sculpture from large bowls joined by disks and clamps to form an arching bridge.  His next major exhibition in 1970, again at Gallery A, was the Continuous wooden floor; as the title suggests, this was a timber structure that filled the whole of the gallery, and on which visitors could, and did, walk - somewhat perilously.  Today it would probably be closed down on grounds of health and safety but in those days, it represented a move away from the standard display of paintings towards the creation of an environment that was itself the aesthetic and existential experience.  Whilst not "urban" in a literal sense, the work was definitely not rural. 

This changed in the 1980s when he moved into landscape painting.  By the 90s these were mostly large and sharply structured paintings which - made as they were with firm calligraphic lines - were sufficiently spare and abstracted to be suggestive or evocative rather than depictive.  Whilst in recent years they have filled out and become more feathery and tactile, an abiding interest has been the use of an emphatic perspective looking either up a steep slope or down a precipitous drop - as in Rising steps, 2018 and From Nimmonds Bridge, 2020.  This exhibition heralds a further transition: we see the advent of fresh subject matter, namely some heavyweight industrial construction in Geelong – his present home town.  In Afternoon Light at the Refinery, 2020 and Point Henry, former signal station 1939, 2020 we see the use of similar steep perspectives applied to decidedly man-made subjects.  In the latter, the verticality is central, and in the former he confronts us with both the inherent visual drama of the refinery’s scale and complexity which he combines and contrasts with the active light of the afternoon sky. 

Charles Nodrum


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.