'Under the aspect of eternity' - an art retrospective

Date: 16/10/2002

The beauty of everyday life will be explored in an exhibition of art works by the late Sydney artist, Robert (Bob) Finlayson.

The exhibition, titled 'Sub Specie Aeternitatus' or 'under the aspect of eternity', is being held at the Margot Hardy Gallery, University of Western Sydney, Bankstown campus, from October 21 to November 29, 2002.

Reflecting Mr Finlayson's interest in philosophy, science, music, and religion, the exhibition features a range of abstracts, landscapes and still lifes from the 1960s to the 1990s. Many of the works are unsigned, because he believed a painting should represent its own unmistakable signature.

Robert Finlayson's wife, Anne McLean, says it's the first time her husband's work has been shown publicly since his death in March 2001.

"Bob believed in beauty's ability to transcend and enlighten. A sunset may be beautiful, but he believed the lights reflected in a puddle on a street could be just as rewarding," Ms McLean says.

"He used a range of media in his art including oils, acrylics, house paint, inks, pastels and pencils. He enjoyed trying new and unusual combinations to create unexpected juxtapositions of colours, tones and form."

Mr Finlayson was born in Annandale in 1940, and began his career as a signwriter after leaving school. He took painting lessons from eminent Meldrum School artist Graeme Inson in the early 60s, and his works from this era reflect this influence.

He held several one-man shows in the late 60s, following the exhibition of his works in the Archibald Prize (1965-66) and Suleman Prize (1966). Mr Finlayson also served as the editor of The Poetry Magazine during these years.

But by the 1970s, Mr Finlayson became disillusioned with the established art world. His paintings over these years became more vivid and dramatic, and experimented with tone, form and colour. His works were rarely shown in public until 1994, when he held a successful retrospective exhibition at the TAP gallery in Darlinghurst.

There are almost 300 surviving art works today.

Mr Finlayson once described his work as 'a whole, a creating, a disintegration, a newness, and oldness, a coming and going everything in time runs down, some things during their lifetime effect the evolution of things, hopefully some of my paintings or myself will do this in some small way.'

The exhibition will run in the Margot Hardy Gallery, in Building 23 of the University of Western Sydney, Bankstown campus, from Monday 21 October to Friday 29 November, 2002.

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