Elysium

Art Life , Exhibitions Sep 07, 2012 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

At one point in Ridley Scott’s film Gladiator, Russell Crowe, as Maximus, delivers the following line to his troops, “If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you’re already dead!” Elysium, a reference to a paradise found in the afterlife, is the title of Angus McDonald’s latest exhibition of paintings.

The Greek poet Homer first referenced Elysium (or ‘Elysian plains’) where ‘life is easiest for men’ in ‘Odyssey’ but the allure of paradise of one form or another has always been sought by artists, film makers and musicians as a way to escape the ordinary. McDonald, who has painted similar subjects over many years, finds that these days his enjoyment lies in the painting process, which often fascinates him more than the result. He’s interested in exploring contrasts between light and dark, the ideal balance of objects and the harmony in a composition.

In his new paintings, McDonald has produced a luscious series of still-life oil paintings where pink and yellow roses sit amongst limes, pears and rich juicy melons on his trademark flowing drapery. This fruity mix of the masculine and feminine has death close by in the form of skulls and crucifixes, but the artist is unconcerned about decoding any meaning and leaves that to the viewer. Drawings and paintings of bulls and horses, astute observers in repose, are also fond subjects for the artist and complete the show.

Until 23 September 2012
Tim Olsen Gallery, Woollahra.
Pic: ‘Melons and Roses’, 2012 oil on linen, 110 x 300cm. Courtesy the artist and Tim Olsen Gallery.

The Art Life’s ‘Exhibitions’ section previews new and upcoming shows of note. Like to be included? Send info + pics to: the art life at hot mail dot com. Include “Exhibitions” in the subject line.

Sharne Wolff

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