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What we did on Saturday


What we did on Saturday
Originally uploaded by JackRyder.
We went to both of these events. First to the Wollemi Pine auction display at the Botanic Gardens to get a program for sclerotic_rings and to gaze in awe at plants the dinosaurs may have grazed upon. Each of the trees being auctioned is a graft from the first pine discovered and there's a weird feeling of temporal dislocation walking amongst them. If this is what science can do, then I'm for it!

Next, on to the Margaret Preston exhibition at the State Gallery. It is a major retrospective, beginning with the almost photorealistic still lives that she started exhibiting, and following her interest in native plants and the Australian landscape that were influenced by her exposure to early modernism during trips to Europe. Some of her landscapes are breathtaking in their seeming abstraction. Her paintings and prints of native plants are astonishing too, especially her use of bold colours, which was not the done thing in the Australian art world in the early to mid Twentieth century. Her paintings of WW2 life in Sydney are characteristically drained of colour, colour that only returns when the war is over.

One of the more interesting aspects of the exhibition was that it was co-sponsored by Australian Women's Weekly - as Preston had done covers for an early version of the magazine. Makes me think that modern magazine publishing has lost something through the over-use of photographic covers, but then they are driven by celebrities now.

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