If artist William Robinson’s exhibition at HOTA is a love letter to the Gold Coast hinterland, then The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce, the former Governor-General’s play list (created as a companion piece to the visual art exhibition) is a love letter to Robinson’s visual valour.
Bryce is guest curator on the Lyrical Landscapes exhibition and a close friend of the artist. Theirs is a rapport forged through a mutual love of classical music, art, culture, travel and a shared, acute passion for nature and the environment. This is not the first Robinson exhibition Dame Quentin has curated, but she suggests it’s the grandest, the most ambitious, the most loving and insightful suite of Robinson’s paintings which she describes as ‘visual poetry’.
‘There is no doubt that William Robinson is one of our Nation’s greatest landscape artists. Early in my term as Governor-General, I borrowed one of his most loved and admired rainforest paintings, ‘Springbrook with lifting Fog’ from the National Gallery of Australia for the wall of my study at Yarralumla. Every day it brought to my life sublime beauty, intellectual and spiritual questioning and understanding of the joyousness of nature.’
‘Across the years since I have rejoiced in having some of Bill’s beautiful work in my life, at home and in my QUT Office. It has taught me so much about landscape in art and in life. About how much a work of great beauty demands and how much pleasure, happiness, contentment, and wonder it gives.’
‘What a delight then and a huge privilege to be involved in HOTA Gallery’s exhibition ‘Lyrical Landscapes’ presenting to the public William Robinsons most significant body of work in its entirety for the first time. The perfect way to celebrate the 85th birthday of our great Australian landscape artist.’ – Dame Quentin Bryce
Had he not chosen the visual arts, Robinson might have become a professional pianist. By happenstance, the schoolgirl Bryce was in the audience for the then 21-year-old’s only concert performance in 1957, playing the first movement of Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto in the state finals of an ABC competition.
Classical music still plays a central role in both their lives. For Robinson, it’s Brahms, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin and Rachmaninoff, composers he listens to while he paints his complexly evolving landscapes.
We love the synergy and purity of this long-standing creative friendship between Bryce and Robinson, a mutual respect and kindred sensibility that brought her all these years later to curate his exhibitions and to create this thoughtful playlist in celebration of his art and all that it inspires.
Listen here to the playlist put together by Lyrical Landscape’s Guest Curator, Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO.
Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson is the second major exhibition hosted by HOTA, Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast. Read more here.