Study for 'The arrival of implacable gifts'
21 Nov 1915 - 20 Oct 2008
"We often wish for things, that if the wish were granted, it would be detrimental for us. The gift would overawe us. If we get the gift it could dominate or wreck our real life. It occurred to me that this idea was linked up with the Cargo Cult. Primitive people thought gifts would come from the sky, dropped from silver-winged birds. These gifts would make life easy, fulfil their heart's desire. So often these gifts turn out to be anything but beneficent. So I thought of a sky like a stormy sea where incoming gifts are deposited like wreckage on people underneath, including me - right under the fallout. The sea deposits all these things that were longed for, that turn out to be things that bind us or even destroy us."
- James Gleeson 1986
Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000
charcoal on white wove Arches paper
56.8 x 76.5 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l. corner, charcoal "Gleeson 31.1.85".
Gift of the artist 1985
© Gleeson/O'Keefe Foundation
Shown in 6 exhibitions
Contemporary Australian Drawings - from the collection:
Great gifts, great patrons, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Aug 1994–19 Oct 1994
Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Dec 1997–15 Mar 1998
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
James Gleeson: drawings for paintings, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Apr 2003–15 Jun 2003
James Gleeson centenary: works from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 07 Nov 2015–27 Jan 2016
Referenced in 5 publications
Hendrik Kolenberg, Australian drawings from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1997, 126 (illus.). cat.no. 124
Hendrik Kolenberg, Contemporary Australian drawings: from the collection, Sydney, 1992, illus.. cat.no. 22
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'Revealing drawings: ideas that were turned into monumental paintings', pg. 22-26, Sydney, Mar 2003, 26 (illus.).
Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The enduring image', pg. 265-266, Sydney, 2000, 280 (illus.), 300.
Anne Ryan, James Gleeson: drawings for paintings, 'Refined Destruction! Dainty Horror!', pg. 19-28, Sydney, 2003, 23, 86 (colour illus.), 87. cat.no. 35