In The art that made me, artists discuss works in the Art Gallery of NSW collection that either inspire, influence or simply delight them. This selection by Sydney artist Ceara Metlikovec first appeared in Look – the Gallery’s members magazine.
‘All of the works play with the idea of something that we don’t necessarily have words for. Like when you walk into a space and you can feel a bad mood – you can feel it before you can see it or give words to it,’ says Ceara Metlikovec of the AGNSW collection works she has found formative.
Metlikovec’s meticulous drawing Maya 21 August 2018 has recently been acquired for the Gallery’s collection. Listening to the Pauri of Japji, 16th-century Sikh mantras, Metlikovec’s Maya series unfurled ‘like a tapestry on a loom,’ as she cleared her mind to go beyond conscious thought and ‘see if there’s something else’.
Sydney Long Pan
I remember the first time I came to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, I was in year seven and I stumbled across this magnificent painting. When I was a teenager, my favourite time of day was twilight. It always felt so exciting when the colours leaked from the sun and stained the world. When I first saw Pan, this is what I felt. The light Sydney Long created transported me into the bush. I could feel it, see it and hear it. This painting affected my understanding of what art could be. Thinking now of the lines of the trees, measuring the sound of the music, I am sure this influenced my own use of line.
Unknown artist Avalokiteshvara, bodhisattva of compassion
Another seed for thought was planted upon viewing this bodhisattva in my early teenage years. The gold of this sculpture immediately drew me near. Gold to me conjures mystery, magic and ancient symbols and stories. This small deity presents all of these wonders. The detail is beautiful. It calls you in and presents you with a dance that brings the figure to life. The movement of the arms seems to leave gold measurements in space. I love how the heads travel up and around the figure, presenting ways of seeing from other viewpoints. The colour selection tells us this was not human. Something much more royal or magical was able to perform in such a manner. Without knowing who this figure represented, I felt the artist was offering us the idea that perhaps there was more beyond what we saw.
George Tjungurrayi Untitled
The first time I saw this piece by Tjungurrayi it transported me. I was travelling through the air, across the desert. I could smell the earth. I could feel the sun. It made me feel like I was a bird and I was home. The way the lines move through the painting invites the viewer in rather than cutting them off. You are called to enter this space and travel through time to the desert. This work is my favourite. Somehow by showing us less we learnt more. I aim to be this selective in my own work in the hope of telling so much. A master of materials, Tjungurrayi opened a discussion on space and time, without having said a word.
Roy de Maistre Rhythmic composition
in yellow green minor
During my time at the National Art School, we had a class called Experimental Drawing. We were tasked with choosing an artwork as a starting point for our own body of work. When I visited the Gallery for ideas, I came across this piece. The time in the world when this painting was created is what struck me the most. The horrors of war had not destroyed this man’s singular vision of beauty. What an amazing achievement, to create something that to me is light, music and movement – on the back of the experience of war. The madness of war is fleeting compared to the infinite existence of light, sound and form. De Maistre captures something that might be behind the veil, the movement of the universe in all its splendour of transformation.