Sidney Nolan Pretty Polly Mine
Sidney Nolan is a master narrator and his sense of composition has always excited me. His bold use of colour and mark making is breathtaking. There is a primitive strength to Pretty Polly Mine and a clarity that delivers enormous visual impact. The painting is full of poetry. Rather than reporting the landscape, Nolan has found the poetry within it.
We are witness to his sense of humour, which I find delightful. Nolan has recognised how incongruous it is for a man dressed in a suit to be feeding birds in such a desolate landscape.
I have always enjoyed the upside-down bird, which is utterly surprising. I was at the Art Gallery of NSW when Nolan was asked why he painted the bird upside down and his answer was simply, 'I don't know.' A perfect response, because painting is not about knowing.