Rick Amor at Niagara Galleries
Published Saturday, 4 September 2004Rick Amor is without peer as a landscape and portait artist - his exhibition of studies currently on show at Niagara Galleries in Melbourne is one of the finest exhibitions this year.
Perhaps some of the finest contemporary portraits I have seen in the last twenty years have been painted by the late Brett Whitely and Rick Amor. I hope I will always remember the masterful self-portrait from Rick Amor's last exhibition. In this current exhibition of studies for the major exhibition that is in Sydney, not only is there a superb drawing of Paul Boston, but some beautiful coastal landscapes. The charcoal drawn portrait of Paul Boston is so relaxed, and the work is a masterful linkage of Ken Whisson like lines and wonderful detail of the face and hands. Why don't we see Amor's works in the Archibald Prize?
Perhaps Amor's appeal is the psychological impact of portraying suburban beaches when they are at their most sublime, particularly during the buildup to a storm. These images draw our eye as it follows the spume and foam of white horses crashing into the bayside shore under a filthy sky. In particular the Study for Path to the beach is a masterfully executed painting. The calm surface of the image with the subdued tonal palette immediately draw the eye to the path wending its way through the dunes under the archway formed by the leaning t-tree, with the atmospheric backdrop of a monster cloud like a bowsprit of a huge tanker coming to dock. Perhaps Amor's beautiful bayside beach scenes have more in common with the tonal works by Clarice Beckett rather than the bright and sunny Mentone beach scenes by the Heidelberg Artist's, but then again his pictures are truer to Melbourne's climate.
There are few artists that can match Rick Amor's mastery of technique and surface – the exquisite layers of paint are applied with a mastery that sets them apart from almost every other contemporary painter in Australia.
Rick Amor's current exhibition at Niagara Galleries is a collection of studies for the major exhibition currently on at the Liverpool Street Gallery in Sydney. Like the earlier exhibition of Ricky Swallow's sculpture Killing Time at Gertrude Street earlier this year, this is a must see exhibition of one of Australia's finest artists.