Despard Gallery is proud to present ECHOES OF TURNER, a solo exhibition of new works by prominent landscape painter Geoff Dyer. This body of work was inspired by the English painter J.M.W Turner who is famous for his ability to capture light. Geoff Dyer is a leading contemporary Australian Artist who has been represented in over fifty national and international exhibitions. A regular finalist in both the Archibald and Wynne prizes and winner of the Archibald in 2003 for his portrait of Tasmanian author and environmentalist Richard Flanagan.
We generally know Turner as that English painter who introduced us to the beauty of sunsets, which is not far off the mark. A slightly peculiar man; short of stature, gruff with the appearance (as Delacroix once noted) of a farmer, dressed scruffily in black with a top hat. Turner, the outsider, well removed from social delicacies that would have surrounded the Royal Academy and patrons in the early 1800’s. Turner, the genius of light, whose paintings dissolve into vapor and shadowy forms and, ultimately, anticipate a new language of art, that of the abstractionists of the 20th century. Turner’s early work challenges the French painter Claude Lorraine at his own game, transferring the Italianate to the grunge and Dickensian sludge, the Thames; the enduring muse. ‘The Temeraire’ being the resultant masterpiece of the mature period. However the last period, from the 1840’s, show the omnivorous richness of Turner’s mind, lush abstractions, with more than a hint of apocalyptic apprehension, paintings that elude contemporaries and critics alike (even his great supporter Ruskin). The West coast, Ocean Beach and the Henty Dunes are, I suppose, my Thames. There is a primal force and, Ocean Beach in particular, with its tannined hues and flotsam and jetsam, is like the Thames gone mad. With this exhibition Turner is never far from my mind, making sure I don’t lapse into sentimentality, or formulaic repetition, helping to make sure that one plays the ball and not the man.