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Former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO guest curates Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson celebrating one of Australia’s greatest living artists.

Coinciding with the artist’s 85th year, HOTA, Home of the Arts presents Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson, the second major exhibition at HOTA Gallery from 31 July to 3 October 2021. Celebrating one of Australia’s foremost living artists and greatest landscape painters, this exhibition will see Robinson’s entire Creation Series, produced over 16 years, presented together for the first time.

Robinson’s Creation Series is widely considered his master works, the series highlights the artist’s spiritual connection to the natural world and through their symphonic composition, his love of classical music. Curated by former Governor-General and close friend of the artist Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson will feature these monumental multi-panelled other epic landscapes, including HOTA’s own The Rainforest.

Brisbane born and raised William Robinson AO, has been awarded both the Archibald and Wynne Prizes and is celebrated for his monumental multi-perspectival canvases that transformed the way we view Australian landscape painting.

In 1984 Robinson took up residence on a 208-acre farm on the western slopes of Beechmont in the Gold Coast hinterland. There, he would walk around and observe the surrounding sub-tropical rainforest, creating a time of reflection that revealed both the subtle pleasures and grand beauty of the natural world around him.

These experiences inspired Robinson, a painter and pianist, to create works of art that twisted Australian landscape painting in a thoroughly new direction, creating unforgettable art that speaks to his deep fascination with Queensland and New South Wales landscapes.

One of the first works that inspired the series is the hero of the Gold Coast’s Collection, Robinson’s five-metre painting The Rainforest. Depicting Botan Creek in the Beechmont rainforest as it flows into a waterfall, and descends into the Coomera River, Robinson’s painting is a meditation on a landscape where time seems suspended.

This is also realised in Robinson’s majestic Creation series, a suite of seven works that are a symbolic nod to the seven days of creation in the Bible. The elusive sense of spirituality embedded in Robinson’s painterly landscapes is balanced by the practicalities of composition that he explores, challenges and inverts. Through re-imagining perspective, Robinson places the viewer within, yet simultaneously above, the landscape, transposing the physical effect of being in a landscape into one of all-encompassing reverence.

Criena Gehrke, CEO said: We are thrilled to present this opportunity to see the Creation series in its entirety within HOTA Gallery, the design of which itself was inspired by Robinson’s The Rainforest. As the second major exhibition at HOTA Gallery Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson is a love letter to the Gold Coast, as much as it is a celebration of one of the greatest living landscape artists in Australia.

Tracy Cooper-Lavery, Director Gallery and Visual Arts said: William Robinson’s painting The Rainforest was awarded the 1990 Wynne Prize for Landscape and was acquired by Gold Coast City Gallery (now HOTA Gallery) in 1991 through community support and fundraising. His paintings are exquisite lyrical interpretations of the landscape, and an exploration of the Gold Coast hinterland – a site of immense, ancient beauty, and a place of reverence.

The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVOcomments: There is no doubt that William Robinson is one of our Nation’s greatest landscape artists.  Early in my term as Governor-General, I borrowed one of his most loved and admired rainforest paintings, ‘Springbrook with lifting Fog’ from the National Gallery of Australia for the wall of my study at Yarralumla.  Every day it brought to my life sublime beauty, intellectual and spiritual questioning and understanding of the joyousness of nature.

Across the years since I have rejoiced in having some of Bill’s beautiful work in my life, at home and in my QUT Office.  It has taught me so much about landscape in art and in life.  About how much a work of great beauty demands and how much pleasure, happiness, contentment, and wonder it gives.

What a delight then and a huge privilege to be involved in HOTA Gallery’s exhibition ‘Lyrical Landscapes’ presenting to the public William Robinsons most significant body of work in its entirety for the first time. The perfect way to celebrate the 85th birthday of our great Australian landscape artist.

The new $60.5 million HOTA Gallery opened to the public on Australia’s Gold Coast on Saturday 8 May 2021. Spanning six levels and including over 2000m2 of AAA rated, international standard exhibition space, a dedicated Children’s Gallery, and the $32 million City collection, HOTA Gallery is the largest public gallery outside a capital city in Australia.

This exhibition is supported by Arts Queensland through the Queensland Government Exhibition Indemnification Scheme.

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