With the exception of three and a half years confined in Changi
during World War II, Murray Griffin lived and worked in Victoria
for all of his life. While training at the National Gallery School,
Melbourne (1919-23), Griffin designed and made stained glass
windows but by the 1920s he had developed a reputation as a painter
and a printmaker. Considered to be a modernist in his use of colour
and design, Griffin moved away from the tonal influences of
teachers such as Max Meldrum and Bernard Hall and developed a style
that was stronger in both colour and form.
Griffin spent much time sketching landscapes in the open, which
he would then work up in the studio. Golden Barriers, with
its luminosity and inviting yet uncanny landscape, is much more
developed than an initial impression. Here the billowing clouds and
partly cleared hills rise above a sunlit valley in which there are
no signs of current human activity even though man has obviously
had a major impact on the landscape.