Luke Sciberras (born 1975) It's Trying to Rain, Napperbee, 2017

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Lot 102
Luke Sciberras
(born 1975)
It's Trying to Rain, Napperbee, 2017

Sold for AU$ 24,600 (US$ 17,027) inc. premium
Luke Sciberras (born 1975)
It's Trying to Rain, Napperbee, 2017
titled, signed and dated verso: 'It's trying to Rain - / Napperbee / LS / 017'
oil on board
120.0 x 159.0cm (47 1/4 x 62 5/8in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    The Lucio's Collection, Sydney

    There are two kinds of painters. One feels constant beckoning of the so-called destination or eureka painting; that which summarises everything which came before. Such paintings, usually sought by museums, impart a certain grace to even the most disappointing, previously unresolved works, suddenly imbued with an unexpected evolutionary significance.

    Jeffrey Smart, the least prolific of Australian artists, constantly sat in front of his easel wondering if this was it, the one he always dreamed would define his vision emphatically and make sense of everything he had done. Each composition was subject to a slow process of rational construction, and the prospect maybe of a little death at search because the search was over.

    Russell Drysdale, Smart's most revered Australian artist, may have felt the same finality of deliberation about so many of his masterpieces - for example Sofala - which could explain his prevailing reluctance to break the eternal stillness of the next blank canvas.

    The other kind of painter rarely entertains such thoughts. Individuals of the alternative persuasion move ahead less sedately, driven by a more fluid instinct from one creation to the next. They stay on the move at varying pace pending the scale and complexity of their conceptions, dancing as best as they can to manage any self-doubt. Luke Sciberras belongs to this category.

    Ever since his ambition to be a painter found fruition studying at the National Art School in Sydney during the mid-1990s, haunting the studios of various artists with especial admiration for Elisabeth Cummings at Wedderburn, he has built up a consistent body of work suffused with gloriously sensual, open-minded ambiguity. Brush in hand scooping colour from the tiny pillars of his Turner-like palette he has pushed and dragged his pigment at the behest of his talent and amazingly diverse experiences of the Australia-wide spiritus locus and beyond.

    It must be said however, Sciberras' exciting method of layering does flirt with an element of danger, where the shapes, not quite allowed to settle comfortably on the picture plane, are vulnerable to becoming destabilised and lost in uncertain textures and co-efficiencies of deeper space. For he eschews - is maybe even afraid of - stasis, and any form of classical discipline. Thus and effort to define a destination picture, one that calmly holds the fort and pulls the rest into line, is difficult. In any case, Sciberras himself declares, and rightly so, this is not really his business, but clearly the role of the curator and critic.

    In the silent centre of his studio at Hill End, a de-consecrated Methodist church, it is reassuring to be aware that Sciberras paints with his easel in a precise position next to a window where daylight rake left to right across the surface, picking out ridges and lumps like visual braille, and defining the tones with impeccable reliability. He may be submitting himself through unlikely elisions of awkwardness and elegance to an autonomous flux of nature, and even try to emulate nature itself, but under the watch of a mysterious order - daylight - which before the invention of electricity, has been a commandant of painters and their evolution for the time immemorial.

    And so, although unwilling perhaps to contemplate the idea of eureka paintings, Sciberras, in spite of himself, is unconsciously allowing us to glimpse it in the shards, shadows, accidents and luminous flashes of his instinctive language. He might not be interested to consciously seek such a phenomenon at this stage of his life, but through his deep love of painting and the landscape and peoples - including Indigenous inhabitants - of this world, he doesn't need to. It will surely come and, as its own convenience, reveal itself to him its arrival. Maybe it is already here.

    Barry Pearce
    Out There, exhibition catalogue, 2017
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