VICTOR Gordon’s formable body of work continues to impress and challenge the viewers of his exhibition Sun Shining Blood Everywhere.
Victor’s paintings are characterised by high technical skill in his ability to render the visual world and a passion for painting subject matter that has significance for the human spirit.
Victor Gordon has given several floor talks during the past two weeks. It is endlessly fascinating to listen to him talk about his life as a young man during apartheid in South Africa - hearing about his political awaking, as well as personal events from his childhood that shaped his life.
After all the political duplicity and violence that surrounded him during his student days, Victor settled in Australia in 1987.
He chose exile over a mandatory second tour of duty in the South African armed forces, and besides, he could not remain in South Africa and be the activist artist he was destined to become.
Since 1990 Victor has worked as a teacher in Sydney, then in Broken Hill and now in Orange.
However, he is also a prolific artist, often working late into the night.
He is not concerned with commercial success, rather his motivation has always been about ‘ideas’ and using all sorts of artistic devices to create paintings that have something important and personal to say.
‘The arts, it has been said, cannot change the world, but they may change human beings who might change the world.”(Maxine Greene)
His painting ‘Sanguine Terminus at White Rocks - Broken Hill 1.1.1915’ is based on the Picnic Train Massacre, which took place in Broken Hill on January 1, 1915.
Framed in red perspex and glowing, it is placed at the entrance to his exhibition and has also been used on the cover of his book and other promotional material.
It is an appropriate work to illustrate the title of his exhibition Sun Shining Blood Everywhere.
One of my favourite paintings in the exhibition is the beautifully rendered, elegant ‘The Silence of Herstory 2008.
It is based on Sofonisba Anguissola’s Lucia, Minerva and Europa Anguissola playing chess (1555) and depicts two woman playing chess.
On the left, facing the viewer is an elegant Renaissance lady, dressed in her finery, her hands delicately poised over the board, as if playing the piano.
On the right, facing her competitor is a shaved-headed, naked woman that looks like a sc-fi clone.
In his painting, Victor deletes one of the figures and the classical background landscape. In place of the latter, and suspended in space, is a representation of Rachel Whitehead’s award winning, public sculpture House 1993.
The focus of Gordon’s painting is the chessboard itself, but this is no ordinary chess set; rather it is Man Ray’s Chess Set (1926).
Man Ray learned chess from Marcel Duchamp and, like many Dada and Surrealist artists, valued it as a metaphor for creativity in the face of the grotesque absurdity of the Great War (WW1). Victor Gordon’s art is thoughtful art for thoughtful viewers.
* Also continuing for another two weeks is Into the Next Valley in gallery 2.
This is an exhibition of large abstract expressionist paintings by James Shand, which draw on the works of Jackson Pollock.
Working with acrylic paint, Shand works on unprimed canvas, which he rolls onto the floor and works up with multiple layers of dripping paint.
His colours are muted and interact with each other.
These works ask for quiet contemplation, in order to experience their full effect.
* The Friends of Orange Regional Gallery’s next After Dark Lecture Series 2012 will be held on Thursday, October 25 .
Andrew Flatau will talk about Nora Heysen.
He will explore the art and life of this interesting artist and her role in the Australian modern art period of the early and mid 20th century.
The talk will begin in the West Room at the Art Gallery at 5.30pm. Snacks and drinks will be served before the lecture.
Each lecture is one hour in duration and will start at 6pm.