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Sidney Nolan: Myth Rider

The evolving themes of one of Australia’s leading twentieth-century artists
TarraWarra Museum of Art
by
ABR Arts 20 December 2021

Sidney Nolan: Myth Rider

The evolving themes of one of Australia’s leading twentieth-century artists
TarraWarra Museum of Art
by
ABR Arts 20 December 2021
Sidney Nolan, The Myth Rider 1958–59, polyvinyl acetate on composition board, 122.0 x 152.0 cm. Private Collection © The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust / Bridgeman Images. Copyright is now managed by the Copyright Agency. Photo © Agnew's, London / Bridgeman Images
Sidney Nolan, The Myth Rider 1958–59, polyvinyl acetate on composition board, 122.0 x 152.0 cm. Private Collection © The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust / Bridgeman Images. Copyright is now managed by the Copyright Agency. Photo © Agnew's, London / Bridgeman Images

This is a beautiful, thought-provoking, and timely exhibition about the enduring power and relevance of myth to humanity. In fact, visitors get two exhibitions in one, in the way that TarraWarra Museum of Art does exceptionally well: with contemporary art speaking back to Australian modernism – the original core of the museum’s permanent collection.1

Sidney Nolan: Myth Rider fills the main gallery spaces with twenty-two paintings and eighty-seven works on paper dating from 1955 to 1966, charting the artist’s epic treatment of the Trojan War, its parallels with the Gallipoli campaign fought over much the same terrain, its origins in the ancient Greek myth of Leda and the Swan and the relevance of all this to his own time. Then, beyond those grey-walled rooms, a shaft of daylight beckons and in the end gallery, overlooking the Yarra Valley landscape, Heather B. Swann: Leda and the Swan – quiet, exquisite, almost monochromatic in comparison with the rich red, blue, gold, and green of Nolan’s PVA Ledas – punches like a steel fist in a silk glove. Both exhibitions are curated by TarraWarra’s Anthony Fitzpatrick.