Dubbo Photo News & Dubbo Weekender

The Cream of Rockhampton

Jeffrey Smart (1921–2013) Fiumicino car park 1975 oil on canvas, 60.2 x 60 cm Rockhampton Art Gallery collection, Art Acquisition Fund, purchased with the assistance of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council 1976 © Reproduced with permission of the artist and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney. Jeffrey Smart (1921–2013) Fiumicino car park 1975 oil on canvas, 60.2 x 60 cm Rockhampton Art Gallery collection, Art Acquisition Fund, purchased with the assistance of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council 1976 © Reproduced with permission of the artist and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney.

The WPCC is absolutely chuffed (a technical term) to be hosting Cream: Four decades of Australian Art, in its gallery space at present. This touring show from the Rockhampton Art Gallery features the very best names from the Australian art scene of the 20th century. Names such as Boyd, Nolan, Gleeson, Olley, Drysdale are instantly recognisable even for those who don’t have degrees in art history. It is a remarkable show from a remarkable collection and should not be missed.

At the risk of overusing the word, it is also remarkable that these works are actually on tour at all. One of the most constant requests we get at the WPC is for “traditional” art and our usual answer is “that stuff does not tour”. This is because the majority of these types of works live in the collections of the major state and federal institutions and those august bodies have deemed them “too valuable to tour”.

At heart this shows a general disdain for regional organisations and their ability to care for objects, and an even more general disdain for audiences who don’t live within easy travelling distance of the sandstone castles of culture in question. That Rockhampton Art Gallery is able to send out its collection puts lie to the claims that it’s not possible.

So come and see Cream and give a silent nod of thanks to Rockhampton and a metaphorical shake of the fist to those organisations that refuse to share their publicly owned treasures.