La Belle Poussière
06 - 27 April 2014


The 18th Century philosopher and art critic Denis Diderot is reputed to have described pastels as "nothing but dust", surely a tongue-in-cheek comment, as it is well known that he was a great admirer of Jean-Siméon Chardin, a great practitioner in this medium. The fact that pastel painting had existed since the Renaissance and had resulted in wonderful works, such as the late pastels of Chardin, is proof enough for the title of the exhibition - La Belle Poussière or Beautiful Dust.

The Exhibition intends to show how the medium of pastel, sadly much neglected by contemporary Australian artists, can be as vibrant and as eclectic as work in any other medium.

Probably the names of artists renowned for their work in pastel and those most familiar to art lovers would be the French artists, Millet, Manet, Degas and Redon, and the Americans, Whistler and Mary Cassatt. However there are many others of equal significance from the 15th Century to the present day.

It is a particular pleasure to be able to present at Artsite, an exhibition of pastel paintings by six notable Sydney artists whose work in this medium reflects as faithfully and with such versatility the title, La Belle Poussière.

Max Taylor AM Curator - La Belle Poussière

Exhibition was opened by HENDRIK KOLENBERG, former Senior Curator of Australian Prints, Drawings & Watercolours, Art Gallery of New South Wales, on Sunday 6th April 2014.

Anthony Buselli´s strong gestural pastel drawings inform the detail in his larger paintings on canvas previously exhibited at Artsite. Some look to be spontaneous sketches capturing composition; others take on a single subject under variant light and viewpoint.
The finely executed rendering of the eroded cliffs of Ha long Bay (a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam) are juxtaposed with the strong facile strokes in works executed along the coastline of Australia.

Ian Chapman splits his time between his studios in Sydney, the South Coast of NSW, and France. He has been recognised recently for his superb pastel work by Societé des Pastellistes de France and has been invited to exhibit in their annual Salon Internationale since 2012.
Chapman is represented in the Collections of Warringah Council; Murwillumbah Shire; IBM; Commonwealth Bank, Lendlease; Transfield; The Trinity Grammar School; plus private collections in Australia, France, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Hong Kong, New York and Vienna, including the collections of Janet Holmes a Court and Belgiorno-Zegna.

Daniel Pata´s skilled draughtsmanship underpins his incredibly executed pastels completed during his recent visit to France and the unique time spent working in the studio of Matisse with fellow artist Wendy Sharpe in the Villa le Rêve, Vence.
Pata is represented in public and corporate collections including: Sturt University, NSW; St Peter´s College, Oxford University, UK; Hyatt Regency Coolum, Queensland; IBM Australia; Edwards Dunlop, Australia; Sultan of Brunei, Singapore; Jin An district Council, Shanghai, China; Crown Casino, Melbourne, VIC; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT; as well as numerous Private collections in Australia, Europe, USA.

Vicki Parish's delicate sensitivity towards her subject matter and fine technical skills with pastel amaze the eye with her rendering of detail through observation. The contemplation of the simple forms of nature is pure pleasure for the observer. Vicki has been a regular exhibitor in significant finalist Awards including the NSW Parliament Plein Air Art Prize, the Kedumba Drawing Award, Adelaide Perry Drawing Award, The Mortimer Art Prize, and the Portia Geach Memorial Portrait Award.
Parish is represented in the Kedumba Contemporary Australian Drawing Collection; IBM; Commonwealth Bank; Forays Art Consultants; Private Collections in Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vienna, New York, France.

Victoria Peel´s has been described as Edward Hopper like! Victoria´s oil pastels are incredibly strong renditions of night and the electric illumination of the unavoidable night time places/situations that everyone occasionally finds themselves in.
Victoria Peel is represented in Public collections including: Art Bank; East Sydney Technical College; Hawkesbury City Council; The Royal Australian Navy; National Art School; Hornsby City Council and many Private collections in Australia.

Anthony Springford´s strong charcoal and pastel drawings demand attention. Echoing Braque and the early Cubists, Springfords works are a dialogue between artist, observer and the subjects found in his studio. The remnants of the (in)famous decayed carcass salvaged to continue its gracious decay as subject matter and reference material for conversation.