Unveiling WILDER TIMES: Arthur Boyd and the Mid-1980s Landscape

Landscape paintings hanging on a wall

Bundanon has proudly launched WILDER TIMES: Arthur Boyd and the Mid-1980s Landscape, a compelling new exhibition and live program brimming with 80s-inspired events, running from now until 13 October 2024.

This initiative offers a vivid glimpse into a period of rich cultural dynamism in Australia, marked by critical conversations around landscape, land ownership, and environmental protection.

Exhibition Highlights

The exhibition showcases works from over 25 distinguished Australian artists from the mid-1980s. Central to the exhibition are Arthur Boyd’s fourteen powerful landscape paintings, commissioned in 1984 by Arts Centre Melbourne. These monumental pieces have returned to Bundanon for the first time since their creation, now displayed alongside more than 60 significant works by other influential Australian artists of that era, including David Aspden, Vivienne Binns, and Rover Joolama Thomas, to name a few.

Boyd’s commission was part of a broader initiative led by renowned designer John Truscott, aimed at incorporating new works within Arts Centre Melbourne’s interiors. These commissions were integral to Truscott’s vision of the theatres as a ‘secular cathedral to the arts’, resonating strongly with Arthur and Yvonne Boyd’s vision for Bundanon and reflecting the period’s vibrant cultural milieu.

The Boyd Connection

Arthur Boyd’s suite of paintings captures the essence of the Shoalhaven landscape from dawn to midnight, epitomising his deep respect for the natural world. These works record Boyd’s observations through rough paintings and sketches created in situ, before being realised on canvas in his Bundanon studio. The series now graces Bundanon’s Art Museum, underscoring Boyd’s commitment to environmental preservation and his profound affinity with the Australian landscape.

Accompanying Survey

Complementing Boyd’s works, the exhibition offers a survey of pivotal creations in painting, film, photography, and printed material from artists actively engaged with environmental themes during the mid-1980s. This curated selection contextualises the era’s rapid cultural, social, and political transformations, enriching the understanding of Boyd’s creative explosion during that time.

Notable works on display include Imants Tillers’ Pataphysical man and Timmy Payungu Tjapangati’s Snake Dreaming, providing critical insights into the evolving perceptions of Australian identity and Indigenous art.

Live Programs and Events

To further enrich the WILDER TIMES experience, Bundanon offers an array of live programs and events that underline the environmental and cultural dynamism of the 1980s. Highlights include panel discussions, film weekends, and conversations with artists and historians. Noteworthy events feature:

  • Keep The Fire Burning: A discussion on Aboriginal fire management practices on 11 July.
  • 80s Double Bill Film Weekend: Screening seminal Australian films on 13-14 July.
  • Women in Art & Film: A conversation on the contributions of women in art and film on 14 July.
  • Professor Terry Smith on Arthur Boyd in the 1980s: A talk on Boyd’s impact, scheduled for 10 August.
  • Wild Queer Times with William Yang: Narratives from the 1980s queer scene on 7 September.
  • Breaking Bread with Bonita Ely: A luncheon discussing feminist and environmental art practices on 8 September.

Weekend Stays

Bundanon has curated special weekend accommodation packages to complement the exhibition, focusing on themes like environmentalism, artistic exploration, and wild foraging. These include unique weekends featuring architecture discussions, celebrations of Boyd’s artistic legacy, and biodiversity walks.

The full Stay Weekend program and more detailed event schedules are available on Bundanon’s website

WILDER TIMES serves as a beacon, illuminating a transformative chapter in Australian art and environmental awareness. This exhibition and its accompanying programs invite visitors to reconnect with the 1980s cultural landscape and engage deeply with the art that continues to shape our understanding of Australia’s rich artistic heritage. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to explore the vivid and dynamic expressions of a pivotal era, now beautifully showcased at Bundanon.