Normally you’d have to go to Canberra to see British artist David Hockney’s monumental work A Bigger Grand Canyon. But Canberra has come to the Gold Coast as part of the National Gallery of Australia’s (NGA) initiative Sharing the National Collection and Hockney’s massive masterpiece is now installed at HOTA (Home of the Arts) in Surfers Paradise for the next two years.

And to mark the occasion NGA director Nick Mitzevich travelled to the Gold Coast to open the free  exhibition A Bigger View.

The star of the exhibition is Hockney’s magnificent 7.4-metre-long landscape which is bigger than the NGA’s most famous painting, Jackson Pollock’s iconic Blue Poles. People go to Canberra just to see Blue Poles and now the Hockney will be a similar destination work for HOTA although there’s more to it than just the Hockney.

There’s also another biggie – Australian artist Imants Tillers magnificent Mount Analogue, a five-metre-wide rendering of the view from the top of Mount Kosciuszko, a reimagining of the work of colonial landscape painter Eugene von Guerard.

You can see both of those works – and more – right now at HOTA which was already a destination for arts lovers but is now more so.

Originally the NGA planned to send just those two major works to HOTA. But director of gallery and visual arts at HOTA, Susi Muddiman, decided to go all Oliver Twist on them.

“So, I asked for more … please,” Muddiman says. “I was only going to ask for one more, the actual work by von Guerard that inspired the Tillers.

“We were told we could have the original, North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko  painted in 1863 and apparently it is rare for it to leave the gallery.”

Then the rather generous NGA added a couple more gorgeous works by Bridget Riley to boot – Veld from 1971 and Reef from 1976.

Then, to turn it into an exhibition, HOTA added pieces from its collection – Springbrook Dawn by William Robinson who is the artistic spiritual  godfather of HOTA’s gallery (the gallery building design was inspired by his work ) and Nyinyilki by Queensland artist Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori.

Exhibiting these works together in Gallery 3 at HOTA makes for a stunning show.

“There’s a lovely synergy between the works,” Muddiman says. “And we can have the works from the NGA for two years which is nice.”

Susi Muddiman, who took over running what is Australia’s largest regional gallery just seven months ago, says it is serendipitous that her friend, former HOTA Gallery director Tracy Cooper-Lavery is the person overseeing Sharing the National Collection initiative at the NGA.

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate says getting such significant works is “a wonderful endorsement of the City’s vision for arts and culture”.

The Hockney alone would be worth the visit.

A Bigger Grand Canyon  is quite a colourful spectacle consisting of 60 smaller canvases. Painted in 1998, this large-scale piece is a vibrant and contemporary vision of America’s Grand Canyon, a portrayal of the American West from many viewpoints.

It places the viewer at Powell Point, on the south rim of the canyon in northern Arizona, to induce the thrill of being on the edge of a precipice. The painting is the culmination of David Hockney’s many years of practice and his grappling with the depiction of space, of being within a space, or travelling through a space, over time. The artist draws on lessons from Cubism, where subjects are depicted with multiple viewpoints, as well as careful examination of Chinese scroll painting, specifically the ability to fuse different time sequences and different viewpoints of a landscape within a single image.

Shown at HOTA Gallery with its forebear by Eugene von Guerard, Imants Tillers’ Mount Analogue is a dramatically enlarged, textured and gestural painting where the multiple canvas boards convey the process of reproduction. Tillers has borrowed and appropriated the compositional elements of von Guerard’s painting to address post-colonial issues surrounding the Australian landscape.

The title, Mount Analogue, is taken from the title of a novel by French author René Daumal. Mountains can be considered as the meeting place between Heaven and Earth, where humans feel they can come closer to the spiritual. Von Guerard’s painting and Daumal’s novel have provided Tillers with a physical and philosophical parallel for his interest in the gathering and recording of knowledge as a spiritual journey of the self or the internal landscape.

The two major works are perfect for the Gold Coast according to Susi Muddimam. “We do everything big on the Gold Coast,” she jokes. To see The Hockney and Tillers masterpieces juxtaposed with the other works Muddiman has assembled for the show is a treat. And a great reason to visit the Gold Coast in case you needed one.


Make a comment View comment guidelines

Support local arts journalism

Your support will help us continue the important work of InReview in publishing free professional journalism that celebrates, interrogates and amplifies arts and culture in South Australia.

Donate Here

. You are free to republish the text and graphics contained in this article online and in print, on the condition that you follow our republishing guidelines.

You must attribute the author and note prominently that the article was originally published by InReview.  You must also inlude a link to InReview. Please note that images are not generally included in this creative commons licence as in most cases we are not the copyright owner. However, if the image has an InReview photographer credit or is marked as “supplied”, you are free to republish it with the appropriate credits.

We recommend you set the canonical link of this content to to insure that your SEO is not penalised.

Copied to Clipboard