Rex Butler
Shearing the Rams

Tom Roberts, Shearing the Rams

National Gallery of Victoria, Permanent Collection

By Rex Butler

I was recently showing a friend from New Zealand through the Australian collection at the National Gallery of Victoria and we came, of course, to Tom Roberts' Shearing the Rams (1888-90). You have to get there eventually because everything in the collection and its arrangement on the walls points you that way. The work is visible — and intentionally so — as you step into the first of the room...

Victoria Perin
Baldessin/Whitely: Parallel Visions

Baldessin/Whiteley: Parallel Visions

National Gallery of Victoria Australia, Federation Square, 31 August 2018 – 28 January 2019

By Victoria Perin

Together George Baldessin and Imants Tillers represented Australia in the 1975 Bienal de São Paulo. Although Tillers was 25 and Baldessin eleven years older, the artists bonded closely: “George represented the more conservative art world I had just decided to abandon,” notes Tillers in an interview with researcher Nicole Bowller from 2016, “but...

Rex Butler
Colony: Australia 1770–1861 / Frontier Wars

Colony: Australia 1770–1861 / Frontier Wars

Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria. Colony: Australia 1770–1861 until 15 July | Colony: Frontier Wars until 30 September

By Rex Butler

Colony is undoubtedly the best show the NGV has put on since Australian Impressionists in France in 2013. And I’d even say that the two shows are connected. Seriously. Both shake up our conception of what “Australia” is and perhaps even more profoundly where “Australia” is. Certainly, a number...

Francis Plagne
Every Brilliant Eye

Every Brilliant Eye

Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria

By Francis Plagne

Walking through Every Brilliant Eye—a large survey of the NGV's holdings of Australian Art from the 1990s curated by Jane Devery and Pip Wallis—I was struck by how much it look like parts of Melbourne Now, the NGV's sprawling 2013-2014 snapshot of contemporary art practices in Melbourne. It is not only that many of the same names reappear, sometimes with work little changed by the twenty years separat...