Reviews | Maturity in middle age

Canberra Times - Monday, February 13 1989

Neville Weston: Here and There, Solander Gallery, 36 Grey Street, Deakin. Wednesday – Sunday, 10am-5pm; closes February 26.

I think it was T. S. Eliot who said that when an artist approaches middle age he has three alternatives: to stop working, to repeat himself and go back to his youthful rages or to seek a new path, a different way of working.

Neville Weston, now in his 50s, like most essentially romantic artists, has adopted the middle course: he retains its basic preoccupation with, as he says, “light, shade and texture in the landscape”.

Trained in England, first at the Stourbridge School of Art and then at the Slade, Weston is a very competent and sensitive painter whose work is informed through an excellent knowledge of art history. Unlike many painters who cling to Eliot’s middle path but simply reappear as a dry mimicry of their earlier work, Weston engages similar subjects and concerns, but attempts to instill in the work a deeper sense of intellectual maturity.

While it is, of course, true that painting teaches one to see the environment in a new way, Weston’s paintings in this exhibition point to specific environments in which he perceives echoes of the work of painters not normally associated with the site. For example, the gum trees and rocks at Simpson’s Gap remind him of the paintings of Paul Cezanne, while the scenery around a place called Gunpowder, Queensland, reminds him of Claude Monet’s magical paintings of the lily gardens at Giverny. Nevertheless, he works with a high degree of fidelity to the scene and the echo of the traditions of art history remains a subtle and intuitive one and certainly not a crass reinterpretation in the style of another painter.

Sasha Grishin

© 2014 Neville Weston