‘Suddenly I will see something that seizes me — a shape, a combination of shapes, a play of light or shadows, and I send up a prayer because I know I have seen a picture.’
- JEFFREY SMART
One of Australia’s most celebrated artists, Jeffrey Smart sought inspiration from the world around him — looking to the environment of urban and industrial modernity — which he transformed through his imaginative sense of theatre and intimate understanding of geometry and composition.
Jeffrey Smart is not a retrospective but rather considers Smart’s artistic legacy thematically. Beginning with his significant foundational years in Adelaide through to his final years in Tuscany, themes include theatre of the real and the uncanny, surveillance, abstraction and figuration, portraiture, and art about art.
Exhibition highlights include early works such as Robe and the small, surreal Strange Street, his last major painting Labyrinth, the dreamlike Jacob descending, the playfully referential Corrugated Gioconda, and several portraits, such as Portrait of Margaret Olley at the Louvre Museum, Portrait of Clive James, Portrait of David Malouf, and Self-Portrait, Procida.
These potent and intriguing images have become emblematic of the 20th and 21st century urban experience.