Interior - Ukraine (detail), George Gittoes

House of Art Gittoes, Looby, Abel

Spud Lane Gallery

1 April - 4 Jun 2023

House of Art — George Gittoes, Keith Looby, Ric Abel

Our curation for this showing highlights three contemporary Australian artists: George Gittoes, Keith Looby and Ric Abel. Watch the video below for a preview and read on to learn more about the artists and the artworks on display.

George Gittoes - Two Times Blake Prize Winner and Recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize

Fresh from his 2022 sojourn in war-torn Ukraine, the central image in the show, House of Art (Irpin, Ukraine) is exhibited here for the first time. Independent anti-war artist George Gittoes is presenting us with the destruction inflicted by the Russian forces on one of Ukraine's centres of cultural expression. Although bleak, the artwork has a kind of geometric beauty as the debris of war is woven into a synthesis that gives it impetus as a beautiful work of art.

House of Art - Ukraine - Gittoes House of Art (Irpin, Ukraine), George Gittoes, 2023, Oil on Canvas, 184x250cm (Image courtesy of the artist)

Contrasted with the chaos of war, are works such as Puppet Theatre Prayer for Ukraine which recollects Gittoes' time in the Yellow House Potts Point in the early 70's where he set up the puppet theatre. This work, woven with his love of Buddhist and Persian art, has taken six years to complete, and is also shown for the first time.

The Gittoes selection which includes 11 works is curated by both George Gittoes and Spud Lane Gallery.

Keith Looby - Archibald, Blake and Sulman Prize Winner

Looby is one of Australia's art giants: An 83-year old who has dedicated his life to his craft, winning all of Australia's major prizes along the way, who still paints seven days a week from his Sydney studio. Looby is unique. His oil paintings are so thick they become almost sculptural, and are a pain-staking labour of love where the process of painting takes over. Throughout his oeuvre, Looby's great skill as an image-maker is evident, eliciting delight on every viewing.

The Island - Looby The Island, Keith Looby, 1987, Oil on Canvas, 230x245cm (Image courtesy of the artist)

This curation includes 10 works by Keith Looby including several large awe-inspiring paintings alongside smaller original works painted with great sensitivity.

You can watch Mama Dojo's feature-length documentary Looby on SBS On Demand, to get an insight into the man, his history, and the politics of the art world.

Ric Abel - Blake Prize and Archibald Salon des Refusées Finalist

Also included in this showing is Ric Abel's perspective on the conflict in Ukraine.

Bocal aux Poissons II - Ric Abel Bocal aux Poissons II, Ric Abel, 2022, Acrylic on Watercolour Paper mounted on Aluminium, 141x150cm (Image courtesy of the artist)

In Bocal aux Poissons II, Abel shows the Ukraine war, observed by the world, within a fishbowl. Abel began with a drawing that directly referenced imagery from Pablo Picasso's Guernica, and drawing inspiration from Picasso's process of transformation, gradually transformed his initial drawing to incorporate the symbols of Ukraine - a sunflower and a nightingale - before enclosing the entirety in a fish bowl. The sunflower represents the resistance of Ukraine against invasion by Russian forces, whilst the nightingale represents the Ukrainian culture that Gittoes also references in his House of Art. You can watch the creation of Bocal aux Poissons II on Abel's Instagram.

This selection includes a total of 12 works by Abel which demonstrate his breadth of practice.

Saturday 1 April – Sunday 4 June 2023
Spud Lane Gallery
U1/74-76 Hoddle St, Robertson NSW 2577
Friday to Sunday, 10am–4pm and by appointment

GEORGE GITTOES: Winner of the Sydney Peace Prize, George Gittoes is an anti-war artist and documentary maker whose films have shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. George Gittoes Artworks

KEITH LOOBY: Winner of the Archibald, Blake and Sulman Prizes Looby is one of the giants of Australian art, and has held Australian society to account with his incisive, satirical humour and fearless commentary on the late 20th century. Keith Looby Artworks

RIC ABEL: A finalist in the Blake Art Prize and the Archibald’s Salon des Refusés, Ric Abel travels through landscapes, skulls and quasi-cubist subjects. His art is introspective and exploratory, humorous and dark. Ric Abel Artworks

Find Spud Lane Gallery tucked away on Burrawang Lane, next to the Big Potato in Robertson at the rear of the Highlands Hive building. We're a stunning 30-minute scenic drive from Bowral, Mittagong, Exeter, Berrima and the rest of the Southern Highlands; 2 hours from Sydney and Canberra; and a verdant rainforest mountain trip from Wollongong and the Shoalhaven. Get driving directions and a local map

Full of inspiring and creative vibes. Lots of history for Arte Australiana.
— Carlos Barrios, Contemporary Artist; Blake Prize, Sulman Prize and Fisher's Ghost Art Award Finalist
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