Review: “Paths to Abstraction” @ The Art Gallery of NSW…


It’s always going to be a good day when you dedicate it to doing something beautiful…  

Monet, Gauguin, Picasso… the list goes on. However, the exhibition itself was fairly unimpressive. The limited number of actual paintings, the obscurity of the titled works and the overall expense really made it disappointing. Damn you anticipation for making everyone want so much more…  

"Over 150 pivotal artworks by the pioneers of modern art"....(half of them are tiny sketches - I'm not sure I'd call them truly 'pivotal')...


It reminded me of the time I spent wandering about the Museum D’Orsay in Paris. They had original Van Gogh’s coming out of their ears and the admittance wasn’t terribly much for a young adult. Of course, there’s always a price with special exhibitions, but surely reasonable prices should be set in place in order to attract a larger populous. Even the Sydney Opera House disallows student prices in some circumstances. Come on, Sydney – let the students in by making the Arts affordable.   

In any case, it’s always a lovely experience to take some time to have a peek at originals by some innovative artists. Picasso’s sharp brushstrokes, Matisse’s exaltation of colour – it’s truly a feast for the eyes.   

It’s just a big shame that there isn’t more to this exhibition. I wanted to be blown away, not mildly impressed. Also, the MCA, (Museum of Contemporary Art), was basically closed today and will be until early September – very disappointing. At least admittance is free.  


– C



Filed under Museum/ Art Gallery Exhibitions

3 responses to “Review: “Paths to Abstraction” @ The Art Gallery of NSW…

  1. glenn bennett

    The current exhibition at the AGNSW is attempting to show the numerous schools of painting that lead to the development of the concept of abstraction. As such it has key works by a number of well known and lesser known artists which reveal how subject recedded into the background while line and colour came to the fore and allowed the art of the second half of the 20th century to become possible. The expense of this exhibition lies in the difficult nature of obtaining very specific works chosen because of their pedagogical importance from a huge number of different owners. Strollling though a gallery looking at beautiful works is certainly enjoyable, walking through through a room with painting that has something to teach about developments which relates to how the modern world represents itself can also be beautiful.

  2. Hello, I was in two minds about going to the exhibition but after reading your review and the first considered response to it I decided to go and with very, very low expectations I was very, very pleasantly surprised. I spent three hours studying the works…especially the second half of the exhibition which was more directly about abstraction. Franc Marc’s woodcuts were worth it on their own. One book that well educates the less informed on the philisophical tenents of Abstraction I would consider: Paths to the Absolute by John Golding. Thames & Hudson. I found it at a second hand bookshop. It is quite weighty (that is – big) and probably difficult to find but looks at artists such as Mondrian, Malevich, Kandinsky and American Moderns such as Pollock & Rothko. Nicholas Nicola.

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