Artist Statement: I had always been drawn to the darker, less logical, more mysterious ethos of Northern European artists like Bosch, Bruegel, Guenewald and Altdorfer. Theirs was a world in which man was by no means the measure of all things, but only a part of the turbulent, violent,and usually inexplicable forces of Nature. In Italy I encountered a very different view. Man was centre stage – the measure of all things, as Plato wrote in quoting Protagoras. In this Classical or Neo-platonic world view, man was created in the image of God, or the gods were conceived in the image of man and the notion of human perfectibility, in the sense that a human being can become god-like, is implicit.
Medium: Oil on board
Dimensions: 12 x 17.8 cm
CHG Director's Statement: Regarded as Australia’s most important surrealist painter and 'the father of Australian surrealism', James Gleeson’s art explores the human condition.
In addition to his contribution to surrealism, throughout his esteemed career Gleeson was a dedicated art writer and critic involved with a number of art institutions.
Gleeson’s talent was undeniable and his effect on the art world ongoing. His work has been exhibited over a span of 70 years and has been featured at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), the National Gallery of Victoria, and National Gallery of Australia. He was awarded honorary degrees from Macquarie University, Sydney (1989) and the University of New South Wales (2001) and in 1990 was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. Gleeson was awarded the Order of Australia medal for his services to art in 1975.
Prior to his death in 2008, Gleeson and his partner Frank O’Keefe established the Gleeson-O’Keefe Fund which facilitates the acquisition of major works of Australian modernism for the AGNSW.
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