Cups of tea, painting in the countryside, the wool price is good, things are good “back home” in England, Robert Menzies’ Academy of Australian Art is building exaggeration, true, but the late 1930s to early 1940s provided the perfect environment for new ideas and different values.
Enter “Angry Penguins”: named after the Adelaide magazine published by a young Max Harris, the artists whose core group of Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester were occasional complemented in idea and image by members of the Contemporary Art Society.
The time was ripe for change and the fuel came from Europe and America - surrealism and modern poetry. It was going well until the Ern Malley hoax.
Ironically, many of the same artists formed the “Antipodeans”, a group of artists reacting to the “threat”? of abstract images from America and Europe.
This show is a celebration of works within the Benalla Art Gallery’s own collection and of a time when every painting had a story to tell.