Monday, September 22, 2014

Arthur Boyd

During my November trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, I regretted for not visiting Yoko Ono's exhibition because I was too stingy. Thou shalt not repeat a mistake twice, hence with no second thoughts and no hesitation, I went for Arthur Boyd: Agony & Ecstasy at the National Gallery of Australia. I shall skip telling the story on how I get there, because it is Boyd's work that I should be writing on.

Image source:

One of the art that captures my attention, The Mining Town. He pays attention to all details with careful consideration in his art. There are happenings at different places at one time which reminds me of what I am doing right now.

His art is dark, most of his arts are with dull colours. Even the ones in white canvas, it is drawn with dark colour as a vast contrast. For some of his art, there is a sole imperfect stroke which I think is intentional. For some of his arts, there is always a second, third or fourth mysterious unknown figure, acting as an invisible support which I think is what he craves for during his life.

Image source: 

He tackles love and despair, desire and guilt, cruelty and compassion, life and death with profundity and a sense of adventure. The message in his art is simple, but presented dramatically. Interestingly, Boyd also makes sexual organs something very distinctive for gender and sexuality.

Mr Security told me I could download and read the story online, but I couldn't find it. Thank God I made some notes. The Nebuchadnezzar series depict his interpretation towards the ruler. For this art, 'The fallen king is the very image of vulnerability and animality."

Image source:

Boyd uses cage and window rails as a metaphor in the series 'The Cage Painter'. Probably the darkest series of all, he tells his personal agony of the artist's creative struggle. Some of his drawings are never complete, as in a show or an eye is missing, half of the body is never shown, etc. He leaves spaces for the viewers' wild imagination and interpretation.

So much wisdom from a man who is in pain but blessed with a loving family. He is observant to details and alert to current affairs. Mr Security's words "You'll never know" is still echoing in my head. The spontaneous day out is fruitful and inspiring.

Thank you,
Wen Xin