Artist Statement: To me the sempiternal image of the Hunter Valley is not coal, steel or wine but horses. They have been here since we have been here, as draught, stock or race horses. They have helped shape the land and our understanding of the land.
They are closely connected to the land. They eat the grass, fertilise it and eventually return to it, thus helping sustain it. This interaction suggests that self-contained forms would be inappropriate and thus the images melt into one another.
As with most paintings the sky suggests the use of deities or powers and thus a clear sky conveys a different idea from a cloudy or opaque one. Perhaps the work implies a danger or threat to the horses and so ourselves?
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 85 x 101 cms (image size), 88 x 103 cms (framed)
CHG Director's Statement: Horse rider, retired art teacher and cricket tragic – player, SCG Member and Sheffield Shield follower. Robbie is just, generally, a great guy. He is never short of a comment, managing to be simultaneously humourous, laconic and loveable, with a Scottish accent that still tests my ear.
Robbie graduated a three year course at National Arts School (East Sydney Tech) and one year Teachers College. He started teaching at Newcastle High School, before transferring to Broadmeadow High School then onto Singleton and Quirindi for more than three decades.
Robbie enjoys a certain freedom as a painter. He is engrossed by landscapes, and not surprisingly, they form the foundation of most of his paintings. Horses in fields grazing, grouped, and resting, provides a sense of humanity within Robbie’s paintings. It allows the viewer to identify with the painting subjects and relate them back to daily human behaviours. These subjects are at ease within rolling pastures and sweeping, distant mountain ranges.
Contrasting his landscapes is Robbie’s work that exposes rural cricket teams, battling it out on parched pitches. The players often appear stylised, but are still convincing, as their painted forms capture the pose and movement of active players and matches.
Recently, Robbie’s landscape paintings have become especially raw in both choice of colour, and paint application. Instead of groomed pastures, his landscapes now exude an almost tangible energy and tactile element. Robbie’s colours remain harmonious, and often tonal, his skies seem alive.
Robbie revels in all that is rural! His landscapes are places that he loves, and is absorbed by. It is anyone’s guess where Robbie’s talent will progress next.
- Mark Widdup
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