Cutler Footway | My North
May 25 — August 18
This story begins in the Burdekin Region of Northern Queensland during the burgeoning period of the 30’s and 40’s. It looks back to an evolving Australian Modernity with a visual language seeking to comprehend a growing cultural shift, yet is wholly relevant today.
Like artists before him, Cutler Footway uses what tools he has to regain some autonomy over the landscape that consumes the spirit – formalism, composition, palette and scale. Sidney Nolan, Margaret Olley, Donald Friend and Russell Drysdale are four of the great Australian master painters who painted from the Burdekin, with few leading Australian artists until now. Not surprisingly, Cutler (otherwise known as celebrated arts writer Bruce James) has taken his cue from the Modernist aesthetic where these artists last left off, claiming a new visual language to reimagine the region for himself.
To be in the region however is not enough, for Cutler needs to be in the work, and talking to it, speaking with it. To accept these paintings and regional landscapes is to honour the studio practise where Cutler wholly separates himself from the outside. To be in his studio is to be inside the paintings themselves, the stacks of bibliotheque quality literature on every table surface, the still lifes as homage to the masters before him, waiting to be composed and rendered, the mustard yellows and lavender hues in each room of his Ayr Queenslander. This exhibition implores you into the work, to start a conversation with not only the landscape, but the studio, the paint and the artist.
As a satellite story to this exhibition, MRAG will introduce Cutler Footway’s inspirations, through the work of Grace Cossington-Smith and Margaret Preston, assisted exclusively through loans from private collectors, Robyn Martin-Weber and Geoff Hassall, with four artworks conditionally approved for loan from the Art Gallery of NSW.
The exhibition will officially open from 3.00-5.00pm on Saturday 25 May 2019 to which you are warmly invited to attend.