News and events

17 July 2017

He is known as one of Australia's greatest landscape artists but now a new exhibition of William Robinson's still life works has been unveiled at the William Robinson Gallery at Old Government House at QUT.

Eternal present: The still life paintings of William Robinson explores the artist's prolific return to the still life, and includes 60 paintings spanning a period from the 1960s to today.

A QUT alumnus, William Robinson (pictured below) studied teaching at the Queensland Teachers' Training College and was an art instructor at the Central Technical College - both of which were QUT predecessor institutions at Kelvin Grove.

William Robinson_horiz

His new exhibition is curated by John McDonald, a Sydney Morning Herald art critic who has been writing about Mr Robinson’s work for almost three decades.

"The title, Eternal Present, refers to the way a successful still life appears to make time stand still," Mr McDonald said.

"A painted piece of fruit or a flower will never decay, the play of light on a vase will remain the same forever. It’s an illusion, but a highly congenial one. We’d all like to be able to stop the clock."

Now in his eighties, Dr Robinson is less able to explore the landscape as he once did, accepting that he is too old to go hiking through rainforests, negotiating overgrown mountains and gullies. He communes with nature mainly through an extensive garden, which appears in many of his recent paintings as a backdrop to a still life arrangement.

Dr Robinson’s garden has allowed a smooth transition from the sweeping vistas of the rainforest or the coastline to the small worlds he creates on a table top.

He began his career as a painter of still life and interiors, and these new paintings are a way of bringing his career full circle. They allow him to exercise his skill for composition, and to create small, private narratives through the choice and disposition of objects. The search for subject matter has turned him into a collector of objects - mainly bowls, jugs, plates and vases.

"The paintings and drawings in the exhibition represent moments in time, familiar scenes of domestic living brought to life by the lessons of colour, light and space accumulated over six decades of working," Mr McDonald said.

A publication that includes an essay by Mr McDonald is being released alongside the exhibition to further explore these diverse and intelligent artworks by one of Australia's greatest living artists and add a new chapter to the history of the genre in Australia.

Eternal present: The still life paintings of William Robinson will be on show at the William Robinson Gallery at Old Government House on QUT's Gardens Point Campus in Brisbane until June 25, 2018.

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William Robinson Coffee and croissants 2015 pastel on paper QUT Art Collection Purchased through the William Robinson Art Collection Fund, 2016.


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