Utzon’s Opera House

Art Life , Exhibitions Dec 13, 2013 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

Today it’s almost impossible to imagine Sydney without the Opera House. Yet only forty years have passed since Australia’s most recognised building was opened. It’s Danish architect, Jorn Utzon, died in 2008 without seeing it completed. His belief “that it is very important to fall in love with the nature of things instead of fighting for form and style” gave birth to an elegant building that blends seamlessly into its harbour-side environment while simultaneously epitomising the ultimate in twentieth-century cultural fantasy.

charcoal and coloured pencil on paper, 35 x 23.5cm, 2012

Utzon’s Opera House continues this year’s 40th anniversary of the House with 22 Australian artists brought together to celebrate Utzon’s brilliant design and it’s developing relationship with Sydney. Wooden models and a pencil sketch by the architect feature alongside works by artists closely associated with the building – a series of etchings by John Olsen and silkscreens from the late John Coburn. Like a paparazzi-flirting celebrity the House is pictured from every angle, in an array of styles and mediums and across all generations. Examples of some of its countless appearances in paintings and drawings by Ken Done and Chris O’Doherty aka Reg Mombassa also feature. Amongst the works is some wonderful parody – Eric Thake’s linocut An Opera House in Every Home presents the House as stark white plates stacked next to a water-filled kitchen sink. Five works by fondly remembered artist, Martin Sharp, who died earlier this month, are also included in the show.

Work by William Dobell, Lloyd Rees, Brett Whiteley, Margaret Olley, Peter Kingston, Kevin Connor, Noel McKenna, Esme Timbery, Tanya Crothers, Bruce Goold, Bruce Latimer, Tom Carment, Fairlie Kingston, Rew Hanks, Michael Herron, Glen Farmer Illortaminni and Utzon’s grandson, Mike Utzon Popov is also on display.

Until January 19
National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks
Pic: Chris O’Doherty aka Reg Mombassa, View of the City from Taronga Park Zoo, 2006. Charcoal, colour pencil on paper, 35 x 23.5 cm. (Private Collection). Courtesy the artist and S.H. Ervin Gallery.

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Sharne Wolff

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