Murray Griffin: A Life and a Journey
⬤ Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub 9 Aug - 3 Sep 2023
Opened in 2021, the Banyule Council-run Ivanhoe Library and Culture Hub has a rich history to draw upon. The Heidelberg area is something of a palimpsest through which a disparate history of Australian art can be read. There is of course the Heidelberg School and the near-by Heide farmhouse, both of which provided successive definitions of ”Australian” art. There are also lesser-known figures such as modernist painter Lina Bryans and her artists’ colony the Pink Hotel in the late 1930s (a base for Ian Fairweather, amongst others). A little later in the 1960s there were Jim and Rene Davidson, who ran the Aboriginal and Pacific Art Gallery out of their Ivanhoe home. The Davidsons were among the first commercial dealers and promoters of Yolŋu bark paintings, important in gaining the interest of art institutions in Indigenous painting. To speak of art shown in domestic spaces is also to re-call the recently departed backyard space Guzzler. The contemporary house-gallery par excellence, it was nestled in Rosanna (from it’s beginnings, Heidelberg is now “at the end of Australian art history,” as Memo’s own Cameron Hurst has written of Guzzler elsewhere). The Ivanhoe Library and Culture Centre have tapped into this local history, complementing typical council gallery fare with a series of solo retrospectives on Heidelberg-based modernist print-makers-cum-painters: Napier Waller, Edward Heffernan and now, in their latest exhibition, Murray Griffin: A Life and a Journey.