Monday, October 20, 2008
James Gleeson DEAD at 92
"Sentinels of a late season", 1987, oil on linen 182x274cm
Australia's greatest Surrealist Painter, James Gleeson has died in Sydney, aged 92. He remains one of my sole inspirations as I follow the path of an artist. He never strayed from his path, he had a single vision which he painted and wrote about his whole life and continued to paint almost every day until the end, regardless of money, fashion or any other distraction. Any time, I think what I'm doing is pointless and no-one cares for what I do, I always think of Gleeson and his single vision, his need like mine to paint. The quality of his painted surface, the paint is so luscious that you want to eat it, the images so organic and primordial, they are the stuff of life.
These two paintings were from his last show on exhibition last month at Charles Nodrum Gallery. I spent quite some time devouring the qualities in these works I so admire, my only regret is that I never got to meet him. I tried several times but there was always a reason either his or mine that it did not happen. I want all Australian painters to study the work of this great man and realise what a great legacy he has left for us.
Detail "Depot for used shadows", 1999 oil on linen, 133x178cm
Following the announcement, I ran up stairs to pay homage to the work of Gleeson that I have in my home, I feel so privileged to own one of these truly great works of art.
James Gleeson "Headland", 1998, oil on canvas, 134 x 200 cm