Council's Shoalhaven Regional Gallery Nowra is delighted to host a major survey exhibition of Warren's works focusing on his relationship with the South Coast of New South Wales. Dating from 1974 to the present, this collection of paintings, drawings and prints reveals Warren's deep affinity with the area and the instrumental influence it has had on the development of his imagery and practice.
For Guy Warren, personal experience and memory are vitally important and intertwined with subject matter throughout his practice. Certain events and places have been so moving and left such strong visual memories that they reappear continuously through four decades of works.
One such experience was a canoeing trip down the Shoalhaven River Warren undertook with his brother in 1939, at the age of sixteen. In 1983 Warren was offered the use of Arthur Boyd's studio at Bundanon, and while standing on the bank of the Shoalhaven River, he realised that he had paddled past that exact spot many years before. Sketching drawing of figures in a canoe, he settled on the image of the boatman, a motif that continues to appear in his works to this day. While the early adventure was an at times harrowing and exhausting experience, decades on it is the intense beauty of the are and the excitement of the journey that is reflected in the works.
Warren's connection with the South Coast of NSW deepened when he purchased a block of land at the head of Jamberoo Valley in the early 1970s. Since then 'that particular bit of bush has been a constant source of ideas, imagery and energy' for him. Not only has the rainforest been depicted frequently, but the complex overlapping of form found within has also been an integral part of his practice as a whole, impacting depth and patterning across oeuvre. The shed or 'hut on the hill' he and his wife built at Jamberoo, which is imbued with memories and fantasies, also remains a strong presence throughout his works.
The figure of the Wingman featured most notably in Warren's 1985 Archibald winning a portrait of Burt Flugelman and drawn in the sky about Sydney Harbour in 1994, is also the result of experiences at Jamberoo and Bundanon. To art historian and critic Norbert Lynton, Warren's 'stock emblems' of boatman and wingman are "inclusive symbols of life as a journey." Indeed, the Shoalhaven River can easily be read as the river of life, Wingman as an otherworldly, spiritual figure in the sky.
Shoalhaven Regional Gallery Nowra serves as a vibrant creative hub for the South Coast of NSW. A varied exhibition program featuring both contemporary and traditional works, a diverse range of touring exhibitions by leading Australian and Shoalhaven Artists, community-based exhibitions, works from the Shoalhaven City Art Collection and associated public programs are available throughout the year. Located in the heart of Nowra, with a shop featuring local artisans, Shoalhaven Regional Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday.
For further information contact Bridget Macleod 4429 5443 or see https://shoalhavenregionalgallery.com.au/