In the summer of 1968, David Strachan awarded the Sulman Prize for genre painting to the 19-year-old Tim Storrier. The die was cast: over the next forty years, Storrier would forge one of the most successful idiosyncratic careers in Australian art. In due course, the artist’s vision would infiltrate the imaginative life of the nation. Elemental Reckoning: the art of Tim Storrier 1981- 2011, will be the first major survey of this acclaimed artist’s work, curated by Gavin Wilson.
A countryman by upbringing and temperament, Storrier has created an astonishing range of imagery steeped in early memories of life on the land. The four elements: earth, air, fire and water provide the framework for the artist’s singular vision of the Australian experience. Perhaps none more-so than fire, that culminates in the artist’s critical foray into the cultural detritus of our times seen in works such as Pastoral domestic (cultural wind), 2007.
The sheer beauty and artistry of Storrier’s practice is revealed in a range of inspired imagery imbued with poetic resonance – the vivid memory of air travel as a youngster in Boys own (Flight Home Umagarlee), 2007; musing over a sullen, wind-swept ocean The wave and garland, 1998; or the experience of a blazing night sky, Starlight the plain (night coals), 2008.
The intensity of Storrier’s gaze is leavened with laconic studies of his favourite old dog, Bunce, (now departed), either balancing a bottle on his head, struggling with temptation or, simply bewildered at the size of the haunch of beef at the end of his chain in the Black dog dilemma series of 2007.
An important factor in looking at Storrier’s work is the realisation that the burnished imagery is an authentic vision retrieved from his childhood memory – a kind of boys’ own landscape of the imagination.
The year 1981 is significant as it marked the beginning of Storrier’s iconic burning rope experiments on the salt pans of Lake Mungo. The exhibition at the S.H. Ervin Gallery in November 2011 comprises 55 works including paintings, graphics and photography. Works will be drawn from public galleries, private collections and the artist.
John McDonald Dark side to the golden touch Sydney Morning Herald 26 November 2011
13 November, 3pm Curator Talk – Join curator Gavin Wilson as he discusses the exceptional works in Elemental Reckoning: The art of Tim Storrier.
20 November, 3pm Meet the artist – Tim Storrier and Professor Catharine Lumby in conversation. Join Tim Storrier and Professor Catharine Lumby for an informal discussion about his artistic life and his works in the exhibition. Professor Lumby is the author of Tim Storrier: The art of the Outsider.