Old Men Skipping with Balloons

I’m singing along to “That’s Amore”, my dog is in the garden chasing lizards for lunch and I’ve just seen an old man skipping in the street, balloon in one hand and granddaughter in the other. My morning trip to Wollongong gallery was beautiful. The smell of oil, Illawarra landscapes and the past were floating in my head. I wanted to go home, head up the escarpment and take up where AH Fullwood had before me in 1892 at Bulli.

I went to see Paul Ryans exhibition. Despite the controversy I liked the exhibition – his irony, his use of oil. The portrait of the Wild Colonial Boy was the standout for me in the room. In the adjoining gallery colonial painters dealt with the local area. Upstairs contemporary portrait photographs-black and white mainly jostling for position and even further up Clem Millwards subtle silkscreens.  But it was an exhibition with no title -the hanging of the galleries collection of indigineous art that hurtled me back to earth. They know how to portray the land – works by Rover Thomas and Robert Cole, the interior so far away but  so linked with the Japanese Garden calligraphic work downstairs.

The gallery certainly was a mish-mash of exhibitions -7 different in total,in a building of odd rooms and staircases it felt like I was wading through webs looking for links, time? place? I don’t know but the mood was one of enjoyment, spring and I felt like skipping with that old man and the orange balloon.


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