Every once in a while you experience something that inspires, invigorates and stirs the creative juices within.

A trip to Brisbane and in particular the Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) surpassed expectations, despite the threat of a cyclone to ruin the fun.

Cyclone Marcia was bearing down on the Queensland coast and playing havoc with flights* but it seemed that the cyclone would weaken sufficiently before it got any where near Brisbane so we decided to throw caution to the wind. And besides we were heading up for a friends’ wedding and the children were so looking forward to their grandmother babysitting.

*Well actually cyclone Marcia sadly devastated a number of towns including Yeppoon & Rockhampton but fortunately all Brisbane received was heavy rain and some minor flooding.

The night before, the day after — you know it’s going to be a great day when you see a pig being speared.

Having checked in to our hotel on the South Bank we hot footed it to the bar where we met our friends and several espresso martinis later and the weather was simply just a minor distraction. It had not rained all evening.

Saturday morning however was a different story, the rain was bucketing down. The wedding was not until 4pm meaning we had time to kill and we had planned to visit the QAGOMA a few blocks from our hotel. We still managed to get drenched but the need for coffee was strong and no rain would stop us.

Waiting for the rain to stop.

First coffee stop — view from the Queensland State Library cafe towards the Queensland Art Gallery. The entrance to the gallery is not particularly impressive but the first main hall you enter certainly is.


Contemporary works from the Collection


Columns  |  Zilvinas Kempinas, Lithuania b.1969 | 2006
Magnetic tape, painted wood panels and nails

The Ex Mrs Chops contemplates life, art and is thinking this would be an ingenious way to wash the kids.

Dibirdibi Country | Mirdidingkingathi Juwarrnda | Sally Gabori, Kaiadilt people Australia b.c. 1924  | 2008
Synthetic polymer paint on linen. This work was so impressive set against the grey concrete walls with the water feature in front. The colours just pop.

Wandering around the galleries… the detailing on this work was exquisite.


Human Human — lotus, cloisonné figure 1 | Ah Xian, China Australia b. 1960 |  2000-01
Hand beaten copper, finely enamelled in the cloisonné technique.

The Folly | Arlo Mountford, UK, Australia b. 1978  | 2007-09
3-channel digital animation with 4-channel audio

This was a 9 minute journey… subtle and strangely compelling as Mountford brings these 16th century Flemish masterpieces to life. The original paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525-69): The hunters in the snow, 1565, The Harvesters, 1565 and Landscape with the fall of Icarus c.1558 are set in motion with the action implied in each painting. Clever stuff.

Smart sits next to Brack… Jeffrey Smart’s “The Traveller”  sits next to a stunning  John Brack seated nude

City lights 1952 | Barnes Auto, Brisbane   | 1952  Charles Blackman, Australia b. 1928  | 1952
Both oil on composite board

HANGA:  Modern Japanese prints. Details of just a few of the amazing screenprints that grabbed us.


Finger box | Ay-O, Japan  b. 1931 | 1974 | from ‘Rainbow Landscape’ series | Screen print on paper

Details of 2 screen prints by Masami Teraoka, Japan/USA b. 1936
McDonald’s Hamburgers Invading Japan/Chôchin-me | 1982
Woman with Iris | 1980

Joy | Toko Shinoda, Japan, b.1913  | 1992 | colour lithograph

Detail of my favourite screenprint by Tetsuro Sawada, Japan Untitled | 1983

And still the rain fell but the Brisbane art gallery really was the perfect way to spend a few hours. Even the rain was perfectly framed.


And Elizabeth’s favourite…

Henry Raeburn, Scotland 1756-1823, Portrait of Lady Campbell c.1795, Oil on canvas.