Beating About the Bush: Art Gallery of Ballarat

Jill Orr

5 Nov 2022 - 19 Feb 2023

A new lens on Australian Impressionism

Australian landscape images painted en plein air, or on site, from over 120 years ago still hold a powerful nostalgia for audiences today. Our understanding of the Australian landscape has been shaped by interpretations by the artists loosely grouped as the Australian Impressionists. Artists such as Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Walter Withers offered idealised versions of reality framed by their own experiences and desire to create a new national artform. Female artists associated with the group have been marginalised in art history and in exhibitions.

In 1980, critic Ian Burn published his essay Beating About The Bush: Landscapes of the Heidelberg School in which he proposed a new reading of the land, where understanding the values of the artists was critical to viewing the paintings. Burn was one of the first to put a social lens across the work of these artists.

This exhibition brings Art Gallery of Ballarat’s collection of Australian Impressionist landscape paintings together with female photographers who have re-examined the Australian Impressionists and brought a new lens to the Australian landscape.

Themes such as gender, hardship of life in the bush, immigration, urban growth, environmental concerns and the presence of Indigenous peoples are explored through the work of some of Australia’s most exciting contemporary artists.

Included artists
Will Ashton, Donna Bailey, AME Bale, Emma Minnie Boyd, Jane Burton, Louis Buvelot, Peta Clancy, Maree Clarke, Charles Conder, Nici Cumpston, Antonio Dattilo Rubbo, David Davies, Tamara Dean, Jessie L Evans, Marion Ferrier, Maude Glover Fleay, Fiona Foley, Emanuel Phillips Fox, Deanne Gilson, Ina Gregory, Stewart Handasyde, Siri Hayes, Hans Heysen, Tom Humphrey, Dianne Jones, Leah King-Smith, Rosemary Laing, Janet Laurence, Lionel Lindsay, Percy Lindsay, William Lister Lister, Sydney Long, John Mather, WB McInnes, Hayley Millar Baker, Josephine Muntz Adams, Girolamo Nerli, Jill Orr, Polixeni Papapetrou, Elizabeth Parsons, John Ford Paterson, Frederick George Reynolds, George Reynolds, Tom Roberts, Jessie Scarvell, Jan Hendrik Scheltema, Clara Southern, Robyn Stacey, Sophie Steffanoni, Jacqui Stockdale, Arthur Streeton, Jane Sutherland, Jo Sweatman, May Vale, Nicole Welch, Walter Withers, Anne Zahalka