Guy Grey-Smith: Art as Life

21 March – 14 July 2014

Guy Grey-Smith (1916-1981) was a Western Australian artist whose challenging paintings of the Western Australian landscape secured his position as an artist of national importance in the 1960s and 1970s, and AGWA is delighted to present Guy Grey-Smith: Art as Life, the first full retrospective of the work of this important Western Australian artist since his death.

Featuring more than 100 works, it includes major paintings from all periods of the artist’s career and shows him to be an outstanding colourist as well as structural painter. Focused on the landscape, but including still life and figure studies, as well as works on paper and ceramics, Guy Grey-Smith: Art as Life will give a new insight into the remarkable achievements of this determined Western Australian modernist who lived his life in pursuit of art.

Grey-Smith’s great achievement as an artist was to bring a new imaginative power to the depiction of the Western Australian landscape. Focused on painting “directly from nature”, Grey-Smith’s seemingly abstract paintings are in fact deeply felt and considered representations of specific places, many well-known to local audiences.

His subjects extend from the oppressive, parched landscapes of the Pilbara to the lush Karri forests around Pemberton, and the exhibition will focus on recurrent themes and motifs to illustrate how his search to create a connection with this subject matter was realised through the tough, painterly language he developed. As Grey-Smith stated, “What I want to do is to make paint say what I have to say. If I am going to have any enjoyment of expression it has got to be in terms of the paint itself in a kind of physical way”.

Image Gallery

Click on the thumbnails below to view full images.


In the Press

ABC online - Guy Grey-Smith retrospective at the Art Gallery of WA introduces the artist to a new audience

The West Australian - Guy Grey-Smith's art as life

The Australian - Coloured by the rugged forces of nature

Regime Books - Guy Grey-Smith: Art as Life

Radio National - Guy Grey-Smith: seemingly abstract


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