Light + Shade: Max Meldrum and his followers
⬤ 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.