Two hippocritters in tumultuous circumstances
21 Nov 1915 - 20 Oct 2008
"When you make collages - and I did quite a few quite early in the piece - you bring together random elements. However, you do make a judgement on an aesthetic level as to whether they work or not. It doesn't matter whether they're related in a rational way or not, but they must work together aesthetically."
- James Gleeson 1993
Gleeson began making a large number of collages at a period when he was unable to paint consistently, due to commitments as an advisor to the National Gallery of Australia. They are complex juxtapositions of drawn and collaged elements; ink is applied to the paper in a number of ways - for example, with a brush onto dampened paper which is then pressed on a textured surface, leaving a ghostly impression, or using the technique of frottage, where the paper is rubbed with a crayon or wax, allowing a texture underneath to be superimposed on the image.
'Two hippocritters in tumultuous circumstances' is from one of his most important series of collages, the 'Locus-Solus' suite, derived from a surrealist novel by Raymond Roussel, also the name of a work conceived jointly by Gleeson and Robert Klippel between 1972 and 1978.
Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000
synthetic polymer paint, photocopy collage, brush and ink, wash, frottage on paper
102.5 x 69.0 cm sheet; 129.7 x 94.3 x 3.7 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r.corner black ink, "Gleeson '78".
Not on display
© Gleeson/O'Keefe Foundation
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Contemporary Australian Drawings - from the collection:
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 11 Jan 1992–17 Feb 1992
- Nolan Gallery, Australia 01 May 1992–08 Jun 1992
- Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown 12 Jun 1992–12 Jul 1992
- Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah 14 Oct 1992–08 Nov 1992
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
James Gleeson: Beyond the screen of sight:
Art of parts: collage and assemblage from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Sep 2016–13 Nov 2016
Referenced in 2 publications
James Agapitos, Look, 'Call of the benefactor', pg. 12-13, Sydney, May 2006, 13 (colour illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, Contemporary Australian drawings: from the collection, Sydney, 1992. cat.no. 20