An extensive survey exhibition at the Samstag Museum of Art, Geoff Wilson: Interrogated Landscape recognises the lifetime achievement of this exceptional South Australian artist whose long career has, until now, remained largely uncelebrated in the public eye.
This exhibition and accompanying scholarly publication, produced by the Samstag Museum of Art, surveys a most remarkable life in art. Featuring over seventy works, including paintings, works on paper and sketchbooks, Interrogated Landscape captures Geoff Wilson’s movement from watercolours in the 1940s into his semi-abstraction period in the 1960s and then his masterful modernist compositions up to 2013.
A senior artist deserving of national attention, the relative critical neglect of Geoff Wilson is one of the intriguing puzzles in recent South Australian cultural history. To some extent he has brought this upon himself.
Genuinely modest, never pushing himself forward, he has instead given generously to many over seven decades living and working in Adelaide – as painter, teacher, mentor and friend. Asking nothing in return, beyond an authentic curiosity to see others flourish, the posterity of his own accomplishments always seemed, to him, of lesser moment.
Geoff Wilson: Interrogated Landscape has been thoughtfully researched and curated by Barry Pearce, the celebrated former head curator of Australian art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The project not only illuminates Geoff Wilson’s legacy and place alongside that of other distinguished Adelaide modernists, but it pays timely homage to a significant Australian artist and his inspired subject – the South Australian landscape.
“It has been our privilege to take an initiative that others, strangely, have overlooked; for Geoff Wilson’s accomplishments in a long life in art have escaped the institutional acknowledgement they warrant,” says Samstag Director Erica Green.
“In fact, Wilson’s significant body of accumulated work, and his long, sustained progress to maturity as an artist over an extraordinary career of seventy years, have remained unexamined with the critical weight and depth that a public art museum can provide’.
Geoff Wilson: Interrogated Landscape
Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, 55 North Terrace, Adelaide
Exhibition continues to Friday 18 September 2015
For more information, visit: www.unisa.edu.au/samstagmuseum for details.
Image: Geoff Wilson, Pines, dead gums, Delamere (detail), 1978, oil on canvas, 75.0 x 88.0 cm, University of South Australia Art Collection. Photograph by Sam Noonan, courtesy Samstag Museum of Art.