Sydney is alive with Elisabeth pink. Luminous Landscapes at the SH Ervin and Monotypes at King St on William. Her monotypes are the skeletons ,the bare bones of her work. We get to see her paintings in a state of undress. As a celebration I have edited this post that I originally wrote a long time ago. It goes like this……..
My first Elisabeth Cummings was a huge pink job. I walked into an exhibition of works held by the Shoalhaven City Council; the odd local landmarks, a few portraits and then wham! The Wedderburn Bush. A Cummings completed in the 70’s. Not only was I drawn by the size and colour, it was the clarity of the bush that I had seen in Fred Williams. A simplicity that captured the essence- Whiteley called it Quiditass.
Since then I have delved further looking for her influences in the effort to understand what I want– try and follow the path in the hope that the paint comes off and I find her primer- what has driven her to that point. It turned out to be not a path but a bit of crazy paving. One artist led to the next –Whisson, Fairweather, Bonnard & Cezanne until I’m back where I started. Cumming’s Arakoola Landscape at the AGNSW has allowed me to study the technical process in the same way I’ve looked at De Kooning, Olsen and Tony Tuckson at the NGA. Studying slashes of thick seemingly unpredicted colour over delicately built glazes. Unexpected marks in response to an observation. I feel that there is an advantage being a regional artist, the limited exposure to these important artists means that I have to work harder at finding my own way through paint. My influences are my own environment and the subject at hand. My paintings are the result of intuition and bravery and willingness to accept a loss. By studying Cumming’s works I will still never know whether that shard of Bonnardish colour was a confident knowledgable action or an instinctive reaction.