A group of enthusiastic art aficionados attended a talk by Michael Hawker, associate curator of Australian Art at QAGOMA, at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. Michael spoke and explained in detail the history of the works being displayed in Transparent: Watercolour in Queensland 1850s – 1980s.
Among those present was Revan MacQueen, whose father Kenneth has four of his paintings showing in the exhibition. Kenneth, who died in Milmerran in 1960, was known as a genial and unassuming man. During the later years of his career he was drawn to the undulating landscapes of the Darling Downs and to the coastal region of Moreton Bay, which provided the principal subjects for the scenes he depicted. His “Cabbage Gums and Cypress Pines”, which he painted in 1941, was purchased for the Metropolitan Musuem of Art, in New York, the following year.
The display at the TRAG, which will continue through to late in the month, commences with brilliant watercolours from the 1850s by Conrad Martens. This features the distinctive “Forest Cunningham’s Gap” painted by Conrad in 1856.
As told by Michael Hawker, Conrad travelled across the Great Dividing Range to the Darling Downs in 1851 where he painted watercolours of more than 70 houses and properties for squatters and pastoralists. This led to him becoming recognised as one of the most significant artists of his era to paint the landscape of colonial Queensland and the first pastoral holdings on the Downs.
The exhibition continues through a series of impressive works to those of Joy Roggenkemp, who was one of the most significant artists working in watercolours, in more recent times.
Words by Graeme Kelly
Images supplied by the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery