Toulouse-Lautrec – A Contemporary View

At Altenburg & Co

It’s a Toulouse-Lautrec December. The same day that the NGA show opened an exhibition inspired by the French master popped up in Braidwood. Lautrec made sex drugs and rock and roll look like choir practice. His art came straight out of the wild side of 19th century Parisian life. Connecting with his approach to subject are Cecile Galiazzo’s five deep toned prints of musicians performing in an informal setting with balloons. Kate Stevens’ two paintings of showgirls connect with Lautrec’s direct, unmannered touch with the brush. Interestingly enough one of the Master’s great Moulin Rouge pictures includes his friend Charles Conder in the crowd. Conder was part of Australia’s Heidelberg School but happily escaped to a wilder Parisian scene. There are four images by Julian Laffan who does such wonderful things working on and into wood. His Peep Show is an indirect image masking the directness of its announcements: ‘girls’ and ‘live stage show’.

Alexander Boynes is represented by The Dance of the Prawn Trawlers, a reasonably large digital print plus enamel blotches on aluminium depicting black swan and white swan ballet dancers. Surya Bajracharya’s two crayon drawings and one lithograph capture a quality of that long lost era while hinting at the art as new technology aspect of Lautrec’s great lithographs. A lovely, seemingly antique sequence of small photos by Rebecca Mayo link in some way with Michelle Deady’s pieces of body adornment as does Dan Edwards’ fabric collage. Derek O’Connor has taken three arresting bites of the cherry, so to speak.

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