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Woman and Flowers

Woman and Flowers
signed and dated 'BLACKMAN 59' (lower right)
oil on board
91 x 121 cm
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Lot Essay

This major painting by Charles Blackman is closely aligned with other significant works including The Presentation, Girl and Yellow Bouquet and Blue Girl and Flowers which were exhibited in the historically important 'Antipodeans' exhibition held in Melbourne on 4 August 1959. This collective exhibition led by historian Bernard Smith included artists Arthur Boyd, David Boyd, John Brack, Robert Dickerson, John Perceval and Clifton Pugh. Their work stood as testimony to the strength of the figurative image against the trend towards abstraction.
In Woman and Flowers the focus is on the solitary female figure, radiant colour and monumental disposition. Through these means the artist enters the dream-state where the senses are heightened. The simplicity of the woman's gesture, the turn of her head enhanced by an abundance of tone, colour and light encapsulates a moment in time. Blackman's use of the palette knife to create an impasto effect emphasizes both the female form and luxuriant flowers.

In Woman and Flowers as with The Presentation and Girl and Yellow Bouquet the " same singing radiance occurs where the artist uses his lyrical balance of light and shade to suggest an inner listening." (N Amadio, Charles Blackman The Lost Domains, New York, 1980, p. 39) He extends the parameters of the senses of touch, smell, sight and sound by counter-balancing intense colours such as red, yellow, green and blue. The red-centred flower is echoed in the delicate lips of the woman.

Charles Blackman's paintings of women, girls and flowers are reflective of his life with wife Barbara. Her loss of sight and eventual blindness caused the artist to enter her darkened world, through his imagination. In this world the senses are highly refined. It is through the artist's poetic and lyrical mind that the grace and beauty of life are transposed into an image such as Woman and Flowers.

We are grateful to Walter Granek for providing this catalogue entry


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