Reviews | Two in two years

The Arts – The Advertiser, Wednesday, September 24, 1980.

Neville Weston’s current exhibition at the Avenel Bee Gallery, Stirling, is his second in SA.

His previous SA exhibition, at the same gallery, was nearly two years ago. Before that he had shown in other States and participated in several Australian competitions and mixed shows.

He has lived in this country for a total of about four years, but his art is as English now as when he was a student at the Slade and the Courtald in London, despite the fact that his subject-matter is the Australian landscape.

The landscapes he depicts span a wide range of this continent from the snow regions to the Queensland beaches and the Adelaide Hills, but they are all landscapes of a sort which might be found in Europe.

The real subject of these pictures is space and proportion, as perceived in the world around us. They are not fussily realistic in the mirror-detail sense, but they are nonetheless precise and exact documents.

The essence of particular places is captured in terms of what is to be seen there (and we do not see the world in even wide-screen detail) but, more importantly, how it is arranged.

So, with the views of Noosa Heads (sorry, no baretop girls) it is the drop between clifftop growth and rocks and then sea; and also the sudsy look of the sea there, which is not quite the same anywhere else.

In all of Weston’s paintings, although less in the watercolors, tone matters more than color. His colors are more diverse than you might think from a superficial glance, but they are never bright nor lurid, always restrained.

Weston’s training and teaching commitment as a historian of art is evident. He knows that the novelty race is not what art is really about. There is no interest in shock, novelty or gimmick; nor does he merely repeat what has been done before.

To Australian eyes, accustomed almost as much as Americans to looking for the big eye-basher effect, these paintings can seem too understated. The benefit of that is that they will not become dated nor look crudely pretentious in a couple of years.

This will probably be Weston’s last one-person show for a few years, as he plans to concentrate on criticism, writing for “The Advertiser.”

David Dolan
The Arts – The Advertiser, Wednesday, September 24, 1980.

© 2014 Neville Weston