- Charles Blackman
- oil on composition board
- 137.2 x 183 cm
© Charles Blackman/Licensed by Viscopy, 2016
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Barbara Blackman, Sydney
Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne, 1999
private collection, Melbourne
Repose is one of the large ‘memory’ pictures on dark grounds Blackman painted in the early seventies after returning from Paris. It was there that he began painting and drawing sleeping nudes, a practice he continued in Sydney, although here, the paned window of the darkened room is a ‘dream’ of his Hawthorn coach house window of the fifties. Balanced by red, the figure in Repose lies on a white pillow under a sheet of strokes and swirls of white paint. Her face, undercut by shadow and encased in brown hair, is a sign of the moonlight that illuminates this interior.
Felicity St John Moore, 1999
Charles Blackman created many important images, which are instantly recognisable. His imagery is often inspired by imagination and dream, including his evocative shadowy worlds of Schoolgirls, Alice and numerous depictions of sleeping figures. His interest in darkness and the gaze, is in part, explained through the experience of the blindness of his first wife and muse, Barbara. Blackman’s interest in the female figure at this time culminated in Phases of the Nude, a work over four metres long, exhibited at Mornington Peninsula Arts Centre in 1972. The same year, Blackman exhibited in Brisbane’s Johnstone Gallery’s closing exhibition, A Time Remembered. This theme of relooking at the past, fitted with the consolidation the artist undertook within his oeuvre, reworking past subject matters during the 1970s. Repose highlights the artist’s skill as a draughtsman and his powerful use of geometric form; this abstraction contrasted with the foreground mass of the sleeping figure who is thus closed off to the viewer creating a haunting sense of disconnection rather than a peaceful repose.