M.A. Skewes and W.R. Griffiths Gallery - Australian Art 1920 to 1950
The era represented in this room was a
time of extraordinary social and political change, as two world
wars, the Great Depression and advances in technology, science and
philosophy altered the art world forever.
Theses works represent the cutting edge
of that change and the different traditions and schools of artistic
thought and practice.
On the popular front, photography had
become universal, so traditional art media and art appreciation
faced challenges of relevance. Artists responded in different ways
to the challenge of no longer being tied to the expectation of
making exact realistic depictions.
On another level, smaller houses meant
a greater demand for smaller artworks. Largescale migration brought
changes, while cheaper travel made it easier for artists to
experience the world. At the same time Australia remained very
isolated, with the majority of the population socially conservative
and deeply suspicious of innovation.
This room represents competing schools
- Tonalists who attempted to capture the essence of a scene;
Surrealists who contrasted dream with the rational world; Social
Realists, who aimed to reflect society under capitalism, and the
romantic and decorative works of the 'Sydney Charm School'.
The Skewes and Griffiths Gallery
honours Dr Mary Skewes and Dr William Griffiths, great patrons of
the visual arts in Ballarat.