Charles Blackman

A Drawing A Day

October 31 - November 7 2015

Anthea Polson Art is privileged and delighted to present an exclusive exhibition of Charles Blackman’s black and white drawings from the 1970s and onwards. The series has been selected by Christabel Blackman from a personal collection of her father’s works. Never previously exhibited, these beautifully framed drawings present a very rare opportunity for art lovers and collectors.

Christabel will open the exhibition with insights into the bohemian lifestyle and times that inspired these wonderful drawings. The title of the exhibition arose from her recollections of evenings spent sitting by the fire-hearth and sketching alongside her father. His advice was always, “If you want to be an artist, start with a drawing a day.”

An iconic figure in Australian art history, Charles Blackman has displayed a mastery over a varied array of media.  In the 1970’s he discovered the precision and linear possibilities inherent in the Rotring pens that were then becoming popular. It was a fortunate coincidence as Charles’ drawing skills were at a height and his artist sketch books rapidly became filled with images of the moments that made up his not so usual circumstances.

An era of domestic content reigned in his Paddington home where Charles recorded the vicissitudes of daily domestic life and the visits of a star-studded cast of friends. Christabel recalls how the famous Oscar Peterson, called the ‘maharaja of the keyboard’ by Duke Ellington, might be playing the piano, or else Barry Humphries, while the poets Judith Wright and Les Murray sat ensconced on the Chesterfield under the Alice painting. Choreographer, Barry Moreland, could be found chatting with Kate Fitzpatrick or John Coburn while David Boyd was on wine duty. Dancing on the table at midnight to the thumping sounds of Zorba the Greek was frequently the ‘order of the day’.

At this time Blackman often retired to his country retreat and studio near the historic St. Albans village which lies on a tributary of the Hawkesbury River. There he drew many landscapes and botanical studies as well as depictions of the horses abounding in that rural area. His 1973 solo exhibition in Tokyo occasioned further trips to Japan, a country which continued to inspire his creative output. The select drawings in this current survey are imbued with an emotional charge that is accompanied by a pervasive sense of humour and a fearless honesty.

Charles Blackman’s work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and all State Galleries.


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