Blue Pools Springbook, Springbook to Beechmont, 2000 signed and dated 'William Robinson 2000' lower left oil on canvas 206.5 x 263cm (81 5/16 x 103 9/16in).
PROVENANCE: Purchased from Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney in April 2000
EXHIBITED: William Robinson: The Revelation of Landscape, National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 11 January - 2 March 2003; Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Victoria, 28 March - 18 May 2003 William Robinson The Revelation of Landscape, University of South Australia Art Museum, Adelaide, 27 February - 3 April 2004 Realms of Vision: The Art of William Robinson, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, 26 August 2009 - 22 August 2010 Laverty 2, Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Newcastle, 14 May - 14 August 2011
LITERATURE: Giles Auty, 'Secret judges business', The Weekend Australian, Arts Review, 8-9 April 2000, p.23 (illus.) Joyce Morgan, 'Paints, piano, and a shifting perspective', Sydney Morning Herald, 13 August 2001 (illus.) Lou Klepac, William Robinson Paintings 1987-2000, The Beagle Press, Sydney 2001, pp.1-7 (illus.) William Robinson: The Revelation of Landscape, exh. cat., National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 2003, pp.32-33 (illus. cover) Bruce James, 'A Landscape we thought we knew', Sydney Morning Herald, Visual Arts, 29 January 2003, p.15 (illus.) William Robinson The Revelation of Landscape, exh. cat., University of South Australia Art Museum, Adelaide, 2004, p.3 (illus.) Stephanie Radok, 'Offering a fresh perspective', The Adelaide Review, April 2004, p.25 (illus.) Realms of Vision: The Art of William Robinson, exh. cat., Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, 2009, p.54 (illus.) Desmond MacAulay and Bettina MacAulay, William Robinson, The Transfigured Landscape, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane and Piper Press, 2011, p.194 (illus.)
There is at times a mystical light in the landscape just before the sun sets and the night sky with stars emerges. It implies a cadence of interruption in the movement of time and is held in stillness for a moment. In this work there are many perspectives used to include the viewer in the landscape. It is as though we have the freedom of a bird to move in the space of the picture. The Springbrook to Beechmont landscape is mountainous, a place of Transfiguration where light has held us in its embrace. The blue pools reflect the particular blue between light and dark. The emerging starry sky on the bottom right is caused by us looking up. We look simultaneously down at the blue pools and both up and down to the darkened Numinbah Valley and then to the distant Beechmont. This is among my most important works.
William Robinson, 2012
William Robinson was a slow starter, virtually unknown outside of Brisbane before the age of fifty. His first exhibitions met with a mixed reception, some dismissing his farmyard scenes as "naïve", while others believed an extraordinary new talent had arrived. Curator, Nick Waterlow, was an admirer, and included Robinson's paintings in the 1986 Biennale of Sydney. This would lead to the purchase of two paintings, a pastel and a drawing by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
By the late 1980s Robinson had abandoned genre scenes in favour of landscape, and it is to these works that he owes his reputation today as one of Australia's finest living painters. Throughout the 1990s, in successive shows at the Ray Hughes Gallery in Sydney, Robinson broke new ground. His views of the rainforest were unlike anything seen before in both compositional complexity and the visionary grandeur of their conception.
Like the German Romantics, Robinson gave us a landscape imbued with spiritual force, but where masters such as C.D. Friedrich created sparse, suggestive vistas, Robinson's paintings teemed with life. As well as the intrinsic beauty of the scenery, inspiration came from the artist's religious faith and his life-long love of music.
Blue Pools, Springbrook is an exceptional example of Robinson's mature style. It is a closely observed study of the rainforest in which the last rays of the setting sun cast a golden light across the tree-tops, while a pool in the bottom right-hand corner reflects a night sky laden with stars. Using very small brushes Robinson has skillfully orchestrated the transition from light to darkness, condensing time in the process.
In relation to this painting he has written: "This feeling of living energy that is the landscape is quite the opposite of the static one frame, one viewpoint." For the viewer it is a revelation that unfolds on canvas, as the eye makes the journey from the peaks of the distant mountains to the depths of the forest.