EXHIBITED: William Robinson: Paintings and Pastels, Philip Bacon Gallery, Brisbane, 5-30 September 2006, cat. no. 18 (illus.)
William Robinson draws inspiration for his best and most memorable works from the Queensland landscape which has surrounded him throughout his long and established career. The Brisbane-born artist is most famous for the unique perspectives of the rainforest and coast which he has been painting since the mid-1980s. In this work, Clouds and Parrots, Carnarvon 2005, his affinity with the local surroundings is evident, as is his distinctive style which has developed over the years.
Carnarvon Gorge is located north-west of Brisbane in the central highlands of Queensland. The national park is famous for its spectacular sandstone cliffs and vibrantly coloured side gorges. Here, Robinson has captured the essence of the unique natural formations, the towering sheer walls of stone and luscious green rainforest. The milky-blue sky offsets the brightly coloured parrots and verdant greenery beneath. The enormity of the landscape makes it impossible to observe from a conventional point of view - the landscape towers above and disappears below. Robinson articulates the nature of these phenomena in his characteristic, almost surrealist, manner which he has become so well-known for.
William Robinson took up painting full-time in 1989 at the age of 53, after a long career as an art teacher. The main artistic influences in his own work were mainly Bonnard and Cezanne, which can be seen in the artist's earlier works, particularly the interior scenes from the 1970s and 1980s. He exhibited his work regularly in Brisbane and developed his own style which was tempered by a sense of humour and gentle irony, factors that can be seen in his early farmyard works and self-portraits.
The Robinson's move to Beechmont in the Gold Coast hinterland in 1984 saw a gradual transition from his farmyard pictures to the more intense landscape experiences. Around this time, "the idea of incorporating movement and multiple viewpoints began to take on ever-greater complexity in tandem with his response to the vast, wild rolling terrain...".1 Robinson's own interpretations of the landscape developed into his characteristic style which has become one of the most unique in recent Australian art history.
William Robinson has won the Archibald and Wynne prizes twice each and exhibited his work in many group and solo exhibitions both in Australia and overseas. His work is hung in all major public art institutions across Australia as well as major art museums in North America and New Zealand.
1 Deborah Hart, 'William Robinson's Artistic Development: an intimate & expansive journey', quoted in ed. Lynne Seear, Darkness and Light; The Art of William Robinson, Queensland Art Gallery, 2001 p. 35