Jane has always said any art trip with me is an adventure, this one didn’t disappoint. Canberra is a surreal experience in itself but when we pulled up at the National Gallery we didn’t expect fluff snow. We looked skyward at Neil Dawson’s suspended sculpture at stark blue sky and it was snowing fluff with no obvious signs of where it was coming from. The foyer was a-whisp with soft white fluffy balls against cold concrete. Nature was having it’s way with those harsh surfaces. Although we had planned to take in Fred Williams first, the new aboriginal exhibits drew us in, couldn’t help ourselves.
I can’t help but feel like the Fred Williams exhibition, although I had waited expectantly to be struck with inspiration, I found it to be like a new pair of binoculars- close-in, adjust out, focus, blink – try and get a perfected view. I can’t help but admire his handling of paint but I felt I came away with a series of dots and dashes a bit like a landscape morse code. I was missing the pink gouache landscapes I was hunting for.
The sculpture garden however is remarkable and with the misty fog sculpture by Fujiko Nakaya combined with grassy slopes snowed on by what we discovered to be a flowering type of gum. I couldn’t help but roll a wad and tuck it into Rodin’s clenched-ass of Jean . Where else could you do this?
We ended the great day by meeting up in Goulburn Bakery to grab arvo tea, instead as we left for the car park- a blue tongue lizard wandered out of the garden, tail-less , terribly injured. Carla dropped instantly, grabbed it with carefully reptile-trained hands and exclaimed “I’ve got just the thing for him in my boot” Did the lizard know she was a reptile-handler with WIRES ? (an injured wildlife service) Had he waited there all day until we were done in Canberra? Was he on his way to her house anyhow? Last report Carla had removed lot’s of maggots, injected her with antibiotics but it was all too late. I’m sorry to say the poor lizard didn’t make it but at least went peacefully.
All in all a great weekend, beautiful food, great art, amazing nature and dead lizards.