Cover image of the review
Colin Colahan, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, 1929, oil on canvas mounted on board, 46.4 x 38.5 cm, Art Gallery of Ballarat. Bequest of Maud Rowe 1937. Copyright the Estate of Colin Colahan

Light + Shade: Max Meldrum and his followers

1 Oct 2022
Art Gallery of Ballarat 21 May - 15 Oct 2022

The work of Max Meldrum—and the circle of artists who adopted his tonalist theory of painting in the decades after the First World War—tends to be both ever-present and also unknown. His theory was a provocative and appealing avenue for artists that became a major component of Australian arts culture in the inter-war period. The method rejected all drawing and design stages, painted directly from observation through squinted eyes and predominately executed on board (valued for its sturdy flatness). The resulting works, informal and realistic, at times inadvertently border on abstraction. Outlines were forbidden and large masses of unbroken colour often dominate, while clusters of dissolving tonal shades and single brushstrokes provide the few points of detail and definition.

Sign in to read for free

Sign in for free to read the archive and get the latest review each Saturday morning. With our readers subscribing to our free weekly exhibition review, Memo Review can continue to publish quality, independent weekly art criticism.

Consider becoming a Patreon supporter or making a donation.