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An exhibition of paintings and drawings by Jean Bellette opens to-day at the Macquarie Galleries.
Miss Bellette paints and draws with
well-developed style; and if the fine nervous articulation of forms that gave vitality to the works of her formative period is missing, there is still the same fastidious elegance expressed with more certainty and subtlety and a more com- plex rhythm compounded with greater sophistication to compensate for the loss. There is nothing tentative about these works; their grace is that of maturity. The searchings and probings are those that seek to exact significance from themes already well explored.
Style is the product of the artist's struggle to express himself, but once the style is formed the struggle ceases to exist and the artist is inclined to love the style for its own sake rather than the reasons that called it into being. The artist has produced a formula, and this is the danger into which Miss Bel- lette seems to be falling. It is a danger into which so many young painters of to-day have fallen. They are often stylists before they are painters, albeit it is usually someone else's style.
It is in her paintings that we see the fullest expression of those elements that give distinction to Miss Bellette's work. A personal synthesis has been achieved in which the cerebral arabesque of lines tenuously inter-woven in measured rhythms is flooded with an emotional warmth of colour. The impulsiveness of romanticism and the deliberateness of classicism are fused together.
In the drawings, of which this exhibi- tion is largely composed, such examples as "Seated Figure," "Young Girls," and "Hercules and Hippolyte" convince us that they are the work of one of our most sensitive and accomplished artists.
Outstanding among the paintings are "Diomedes," with its drama of sumptuous colour flashing from a nest of darkness, and "Alcestis," serene and remote with its flower-like delicacy of blonde colour.
The exhibition will remain open until