“Describe the impact on you of ONE of the paintings viewed on our tour- talk about how it has opened up your understanding of the key issues in the period we are studying!”
The passed week consisted of a visit to the art gallery with the entirety of my Australian Literature Lecture. I found enjoyment in walking passed all the different art works with all the different people for a few reasons.
One of the reasons was that a first glimpse of any artwork could portray a meaning, that isn’t necessarily incorrect. But after looking into the artwork more in depth by appreciating detail and analysing its historical context a completely different understanding of its meaning can appear.
Another reason that made this visit to the Art Gallery enjoyable was the people I went with and their interpretations that varied from mine. It was refreshing to look at an artwork and interpret it differently to the person next to me. That is, coming up with two completely different stories on the same artwork just because two different people, with different lives, pasts’, ideas, experiences and beliefs were reflected within their interpretation of an artwork. It was a pleasant learning curve being able to understand what the artist is trying to communicate, compared to what you yourself see and what your peers see.
It was a different experience looking at an artwork and interpreting ideas and meanings through sight than what I am used to, that is, reading poems and through the use of textual analysis being able to understand that author’s intent behind their words.
One particular artwork that stood out amongst the rest was a piece called Bus Terminus, (1973), Artist: Jeffrey Smart. This artwork as first was somewhat plain; all that could be seen was a car park, a few cones, a line of buses in the background and a sign. This was my first thought of the painting, plain. After many minutes of looking at different parts of the painting in depth, a different understanding arose. It wasn’t only plain, but it was quiet, and a little too quiet. This was the feeling that came across me from viewing this piece. I have learnt that there are no wrong ways in how you interpret a piece, as long as you have evidence to support your argument. My whole interpretation of this piece revolves around the history of European Settlement. That is, the people were so eager to take over, to dominate, to rule, to build. But once all this was accomplished, where is everyone? No person has been painted in this piece. I believe this communicates two things: one, Aboriginal people are now blended in. That is, they are forgotten and unseen – forced to succumb to a white person’s way of living. Two, European settlers came to take over and rule, but are now quite within their own creation.
One small thing I took notice of was the many busses in the distance of the painting. Their positioning and their style represents old fashioned buses. I don’t know about you, but I for sure do not see buses like these ones around in this day and age. To me, this communicates that this place has been untouched for quite some time, further communicating that we have taken over, almost destroying a nation, and now, we don’t use all the areas we took over.