Important Australian + International Fine Art
30 November 2011


born 1936

oil on linen

52.0 x 67.0 cm

signed and dated lower right: William Robinson 2007

$40,000 - 60,000

Australian Galleries, Sydney (label attached verso)
Private collection, Sydney

Catalogue text

William Robinson describes his landscapes as journeys outside the framework of mathematical perspective. He folds the picture plane before us; tilting the gaze around the corner, to the heavens and out to the expanse of sea beyond. We are gently reminded of the curvature of the earth, the landscape its primeval crust with all the minutiae of life teaming upon it. Simultaneously intimate and expansive, the surface of Forest and Turquoise Sea is consumed by rich and detailed field of mark-making; insistent and luminous as the rainforest it portrays.

From Sidney Nolan's raising of the horizon line in his early Wimmera paintings (see lot 13) to Fred Williams flattening of pictorial perspective (see lot 9), Robinson's paintings advance the notion of the Australian landscape. Like Nolan and Williams, the viewer here is lifted from asingle perspective and taken through and over the painting, unable to linger at any one viewpoint. Rather we are enfolded in a space which is circular, where our interpretation of space is pulled free of the constraints of both gravity and time. The mass of the earth, the endless movement of tides and relentless spinning of the planet are all present in Robinson's landscapes; here he shows us a type of infinity which is alive in painting and thus in our imaginations.

In her essay on the artist, Deborah Hart succinctly notes, 'In relation to a sense of place, Robinson has made a unique contribution to the Australian landscape tradition, moving beyond conventional notions of 'landscape' to encompass a fluctuating environment: of rainforest and ocean, ground and sky, day and night, elemental forces of wind, lightning, rain and fire. His multidimensional grasp of time and space also suggests metaphors for states of time and being, life and death, continuity and transcendence. At the start of a new century, the profound spiritual resonances in Robinson's art remind us of the need to preserve an ancient natural world in the present; 'to keep faith', as Simon Schama wrote in Landscape and Memory, 'with a future on this tough, lovely old planet.'1

1. Hart, D.,'William Robinson's artistic development: an intimate and expansive journey', in Seear, L., Darkness and Light: The Art of William Robinson, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2001, p. 39