Please explain?


I used to visit the Art Gallery of South Australia quite regularly before attending uni lectures as I find the place soothing, for the most part.  I like the high ceilings and the resounding echo for every click of my high heels as I walk through.  I like that it’s always cool on a hot day and I’m humbled by the quantity of work that adorns every wall.   I could spend hours inspecting different paintings at my own pace.

My favourite part is the “pop art” section.  The random art produced in the 60’s and 70’s.  Most of it makes no sense to me (some of it surely had to influenced by LSD!) but I love it!

I visited recently but was quite disappointed.  I wanted fodder for this blog and I wanted to focus on my favourite section but found that it was “closed for renovation” or some such thing.  No-one really knew – even my most favourite exhibition was gone!

So I found this instead.

Artist: Ralph Balson, 1954 (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of South Australia)

I don’t get it.  No, really – I don’t understand it at all.  How did this achieve a place in the valuable real estate of the Art Gallery’s sacred walls?  I’m not saying I dislike it but I don’t think it is particularly clever either.  It’s just squares and rectangles.  Oil on composition board (according to the description).

I got up close, and I mean really close, to inspect it.  As if I was looking for the answer in the individual brush strokes.  No answers there.  The edges of each shape weren’t particularly defined and the brush strokes were kind of “chunky”, like when you try and paint on a day that is too hot and the paint clags up on you and won’t go on nice.

And let’s look at the colours.  Nope, they’re not calling to me either – not the individual colours or the combination.  They’re not horrid but they don’t say much to me either.

I stood back and squinted my eyes a bit, to see if there was a hidden meaning or a clever illusion.

Art Illusion

Nope.  Nothing, still don’t get it.

This is not a horrible painting or scary like Bill Cook’s woman but I just don’t know why it got selected to be displayed in our State’s Gallery.  Perhaps it was some 50’s “thing” that I just don’t get because it was before my time.

Baffled.  Please explain?

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