Monday, January 12, 2015

Ronald Greenaway - The Artist and His World

With our Artist Commission for the August retrospective of Boroondara artist Ronald Greenaway already generating a lot of interest, let's take a closer look at the artist's work and his history. Much of the premise of the commission relies on artist research, so we'll take a general look through some of his highlights to set the scene of his life.

Ronald Greenaway's work promoting the Contemporary Art Society of Australia (Victoria).
Greenaway was the editor of the Society's magazine in the 1960s and served as Secretary and President.
Greenaway was born in Melbourne in 1932 and studied at Swinburne and completed an MA at Melbourne University. He has amassed a huge body of work, numbering more than 300 paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints that are in exhibition-ready formats. Portraits, still lifes, landscapes and scenes from Melbourne life and its art scene feature heavily, with Sidney Nolan, Danila Vassilieff, and Charles Blackman subjects of numerous paintings. Greenaway was friends with Albert Tucker and the Boyd family, exhibiting their works at the Contemporary Artist Society with which he was actively engaged.

Just one example of Greenaway's still life oil painting
There is a surrealist slant to much of his work, a sense of humour and insightful eye for the contemporary scenes of life around him. Greenaway was awarded a gold medal by Accademia of Italy in 1980, founded a group called 'The Essentialists' with Michael Smither in 1967, and has work in the collections of the NGV, the State Library of Victoria and Newcastle Art Gallery. 

An example of the highly coloured oil paintings of Greenaway, and a focus on Melbourne life.
What is most exciting with Greenaway's work is its broadness and depth, covering a variety of classic genres in a vibrantly contemporary manner. He is a living connection to a critically important era of Australian art and we're very much looking forward to showing you a great deal more of his art. For those artists looking at submitting for the commission, please feel free to be bold, courageous and innovative with your ideas about how to engage with the work. or to use Greenaway's art as an inspirational springboard from which to launch your own approach to new work. Best of luck - we're excited to read your ideas.

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