Keith Pickard’s 'Heading Home' part of the retrospective of his paintings now on display at the Grafton Regional Gallery.
Keith Pickard’s 'Heading Home' part of the retrospective of his paintings now on display at the Grafton Regional Gallery.

ARTEFACTS: Real life with a surreal edge

SINCE mid March, Keith Pickard: Retrospective has been on show at the Grafton Regional Gallery in historical Prentice House.

Keith Pickard is a retired artist who is based in Grafton. Born in Australia in 1928, as a child Keith moved with his family to England and then Papua New Guinea. He has led a very active, artistic life, having lived across the world in many interesting cultures such as India, Pakistan and Laos.

While Keith Pickard works across a range of media – from painting to sculpture – his paintings are the main focus of this Retrospective.

In works such as Heading Home and Husna’s Sister, Keith depicts snapshots of everyday life from his time in India and Pakistan. In Heading Home we observe two women walking side by side toward a house. Keith paints the women’s clothing beautifully, reflecting the light and shadow of the draped fabric.

Alongside his figurative paintings, Keith Pickard’s work also reflects a surrealist style. Originally championed in Europe in the early 20th century by artists such as Yves Tanguy and Salvador Dali, surrealist painting plays with the intersection of dreams and reality. This tradition is very much alive in Keith Pickard’s work.

In paintings like Waiting for a Visitor we recognise objects from reality – in this instance a chair – but in a landscape that perhaps belongs to a dream. Paintings such as Nebulae also feature abstract shapes and expert tonal painting techniques.

Humour also plays a part in Keith’s paintings. With titles like ‘You’re so vain I suppose you think this painting is about you’ and ‘Cheer up it may never happen’, Keith makes gentle jibes with his viewers.

Rural architecture

Residents of the Clarence Valley are invited to submit images and information about their country buildings for Grafton Regional Gallery’s rural architecture exhibition, in development for August this year. Rural architecture is often very diverse, and we hope the exhibition captures this diversity on show in the Clarence Valley.

It can take on many forms including houses, silos and sheds. Old or new rural buildings are often different to urban buildings in the way they relate to their environment. With fewer restrictions on space in rural areas there is often greater freedom in the architectural form. The building’s function, the availability of materials and the culture of the owners are of course other major influences.

A selection of the buildings submitted will be photographed especially for the exhibition by three well known photographers from the Clarence Valley, Adam Hourigan, Debrah Novak and Simon Hughes.

All buildings submitted will also be displayed digitally in the exhibition.

Our rural residents are asked to email images and information to by Friday, July 1, 2016. If you would like any further information, or have a question about the exhibition or submissions, call the gallery on 6642 3177.

2016 JADA

We are thrilled to have started receiving entries for the 2016 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award, the Grafton Regional Gallery’s flagship art prize. This year the major acquisitive award is $30,000 with further acquisitions to the value of $10,000. Entries for the 2016 JADA close on Friday, August 5, with winners to be announced at the JADA Official Opening on Friday, October 28, this year.

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