Review Of Blake
(By Our Art Critic.)
Somewhere in the artist's mind there is nearly always a secret desire to decorate a church.
Whatever his personal beliefs, he has the instinctive knowledge that a place of worship is also the right place to contemplate a work of art — preferably his own. Things spiritual naturally attract each other, and there is a kinship of art to the Church which has nothing to do with patronage or even tradition.
If the response last year to the challenge of the Blake Prize was good, this year's entries at Mark Foy's Art Gallery are superior
Three prizes were awarded without including the best painting.
This is, of course, a pity, but not surprising — juries rarely attain a professional standard. Indeed, this jury must be congratulated on having had the will to break with preconceived ideas.
The winning painting, "Flight Into Egypt," by Frank Hinder, cannot be seriously considered. It is a highly efficient work, reasonably well balanced, beautifully executed, but more at home in the field of commercial art than that of art. The note of modernity might shock the amateur a little, the fluent presentation mol- lífies — the ingredients, in other words, for "a daring choice."
Michael Kmit's "The Ascension" deserves its second place; a gorgeous tapestry of late Byzantium with less intensity than last year's entry, but — better de- sign and greater control of col-
Sidney Nolan's "Flight Into Egypt," placed third, is a happy fantasy, not too far removed from Alice Springs. One could say that it was ideally suited to a children's chapel, which, of course, at once stamps it as a lightweight effort-the most in- gratiating painting here.
John Passmore's "The Miracu- lous Draught of Fishes" is here really the one work of art, the one work of power capable of reducing the other entries to,the level of decoration. If. the jury felt that it displayed little reli- gious feeling (owing to the choice of subject merely!) they should have considered that powerful feeling for art is preferable to thin feeling for religion. Even Raphael's cartoon on the same subject reveals no more than this, whatever its stature as a work of genius.
Other painters one may men- tion are Justin O'Brien, Harold Greenhill, Eric Smith ("The Last Supper," a work well worthy of third place), and Nancy Borlase.
The exhibition will be opened by Mrs. R. G. Casey at 3 p.m. on Wednesday; the private view is to-day.