Rosalind Humphries Galleries, Melbourne, 1972
The Estate of the Late John Dowell Davies AO; to the late Pamela Davies of Shepparton
A contemporary and friend of artists such as William Dobell and Arthur Murch, Noel Kilgour shared their 'modernised academicism,'1 maintaining a steady commitment to figure painting throughout his career.
In 1971 he travelled to Central Australia, where he made numerous studies of Aborigines. Some of these are sentimental-polemical, with titles such as Must This be Their Path? and Her Native Land.2 The present work is a more straightfoward, compellingly realistic depiction of Aboriginal life, with the artist's attention focussed on technical rather than social problems. The arrangement of figures is flat and frieze-like, yet at the same time clearly articulates space within the blank, featureless sandscape. The composition holds together through a central angle-axis which runs from the heads of mother and child in the upper left down to the camp dog in the bottom right corner. Most impressive is Kilgour's depiction of the invisible, through the movement of dresses caught in the keen Central Australian wind.
1. The phrase is Daniel Thomas's, from Arthur Murch (Project 19), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1977
2. Both these works were exhibited in Kilgour: A Retrospective, Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, 6 - 30 October 1977
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