In 1968 the landmark exhibition of abstract art, The Field opened the new National Gallery of Victoria building on St Kilda Road, heralding a new generation of artists who were unashamedly ambitious, bold and contemporary in their approach. Despite some resistance, by the 70s, artworks that were flat, patterned, geometric, dominated by colour or line, had well and truly become part of the national conversation.
Simultaneously, Australia was also going through radical political, technological and social changes, which saw increased support and funding for the arts at record levels. The energised decades coincided with a renewal of the Warrnambool Art Gallery through the 70s and 80s, which underpins two decades of perhaps the most energetic collecting in our history.
The acquisition of abstract art through this period captures a unique moment in Australian art history, and demonstrates the powerful legacy of a bold and invigorated gallery ready to make its mark on the future.
Image: Christopher Pyett, Scherzando (detail), 1975, synthetic polymer on canvas, 106 x 183 cm, Warrnambool Art Gallery Collection, presented by Georges Australia Limited, 1975. Courtesy of the artist and Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney
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