Nov
29
2021

Sidney Nolan – Tarra Warra Gallery

Uncategorized

Sidney Nolan: Myth Rider brings together more than 100 works by Sidney Nolan from the period 1955–1966, during which the artist grappled with the subject of the Trojan War, its parallels with the Gallipoli campaign, and its origins in the myth of Leda and the Swan.

Throughout these interconnected series, Nolan employs his remarkable visual and mental acuity to meld classical allusions, literary sources, historical references, and his own personal response to war and its disastrous consequences, to convey a series of powerful insights into the broader mythic and universal dimensions of human conflict. Combining compelling subject matter and a highly inventive approach to a wide range of media, the rich array of works in this exhibition reveal Nolan’s innate understanding of and facility for mythopoesis—the making of myth—whereby past and present, ancient and modern, legend and history, are conflated and vividly reimagined.

Although previous exhibitions of Nolan’s Gallipoli series have highlighted his references to classical sources, this will be the first exhibition to show these works in the context of the development of the artist’s vision of the tragedy of warfare from his early works on Hydra (1955–56), through his Leda and Swan series (1958–60) and culminating in his large-scale interpretations of Greek mythology (1966).

Curator, Anthony Fitzpatrick explains the title of this exhibition is taken from The Myth Rider, 1958–59, one of Nolan’s early major paintings from his Gallipoli series:

“This painting, together with a large selection of Nolan’s works from the period 1955–1966, chart his decade long engagement with the epic subject of the Trojan War, its parallels with the Gallipoli campaign, and its origins in the myth of Leda and the Swan.

“What emerges from these three interconnected series is a deepening sense of the tragic which came to inform Nolan’s vision of warfare as a predestined and overwhelming force that is beyond human control.

“For Nolan, myths, like poems, are ‘forms of knowledge’ and feats of the imagination by which the most contradictory, complex and challenging experiences and ideas can be expressed and realised—and this is what he sought to transmit through his art,” Fitzpatrick said.