Orpheus - methamorphosis
57 x 38 cm
| It is often said of Charles Blackman that he has 'maintained' the quality, the areas and the themes and subjects of his work over his painting life. It is true that he has made certain images such as girls, flowers and children uniquely his own. But these images are only the carriers of increasingly more significant perceptions.|
What has really happened is that his journey, always inward, has been progressing slowly towards the kind of perception and insight that one is more likely to associate with philosophy, or, in his endless searching into human emotions, with psychology.
He has maintained the quality of his formidable skills over some forty years of consistant and advancing work. This assurance and mastery stands behind him as technical support, enabling him to communicate in visual terms the findings of his intellect and the apprehension of his spirit. As he grows older, he is able to form new meanings and visually transform them into rich new sensory entities.
He can take our hauntings, our intuitions, the invisible world of hopes and fears and give them a form and a substance. The real essence of a subject is attained when it transcends itself. Blackman is able to be the catalyst in such an act. His point of view is where it takes place.
Blackman, in broad terms, could be called a figurative painter but he never makes mere representations. He has found in himself the judgement and the rare ability to invest the ordinary with emotional power and extend its presence into our fields of perception.
Any new Blackman exhibition is an exciting occassion. Not only do we have the opportunity of seeing the latest paintings from one of Australia's great artists, but we know we will witness a rare imagination at work and for ourselves know the surprise and stimulation of having our world of perceptions extended.
Nadine Amadio, author and critic