[A South Coast road] is a very important picture in relation to that period. And because I was always fascinated by this road winding around the forms of the hill. And one day I suddenly saw my subject, you know. And I was able to get a space off the motor track and paint that on the spot.
Lloyd Rees 19781
A South Coast road was painted close to Gerringong on the South Coast of New South Wales. The view is looking north towards Kiama Head. Lloyd Rees painted the work while on a summer holiday with his family at nearby Werri Beach.2 He first visited the region in 1940 and over the years spent a considerable amount of time in the area, making a number of paintings of the lush landscape around Berry and Kiama. In A South Coast road Rees has created a visual journey from the crossroad in the foreground, up and over the hills and towards the town of Kiama. The turns in the road are cut out of the picture plane, emphasising the curves and dips of the scene. The rhythmical lines accentuate the undulating hills and natural contours of the region.
Throughout his long career Rees sought to depict the beauty and light of the Australian landscape. He referred to this as ‘chasing nature’–the attempt to capture through painting, drawing or printmaking the elements of colour, form and atmosphere that make a scene inspiring. The lush green colours of the South Coast have been altered by Rees, who said that ‘realistically you looked out and in a colour sense it was often too green for me. So sometimes I’d absolutely bring the warmth into it … But then finally I found that colour in my later works becomes a very personal thing. I use the colour that comes happily, you know.’3
1 Lloyd Rees, interview by James Gleeson, 18 August 1978, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia Research Library, transcript, p. 26.
2 Anne Gray, ‘Lloyd Rees: A South Coast road’, in Anne Gray (ed.), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2002, p. 216.
3 Lloyd Rees, interview by James Gleeson, transcript, p. 26.