Arthur Boyd: Testament of a Painter - Barry Humphries' ode to Arthur Boyd
Australian comedian Barry Humphries recites an ode to painter Arthur Boyd at the opening of a Boyd retrospective exhibition. Humphries mentions Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, Hans Heysen, Elioth Gruner, Rupert Bunny, George Lambert, Norman Lindsay, Lloyd Rees, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale and Lawrence Daws in his 'affectionate doggeral by BH'. It is called 'A new ode to Arthur Boyd'.
Arthur Boyd: Testament of a Painter synopsis
A portrait of Australian painter Arthur Boyd (1920 – 1999). Born into a family of painters, writers and potters in 1920, his paintings are displayed in galleries all over Australia and overseas. Themes in his paintings include man’s inhumanity to man and the vastness of the Australian landscape. Edmund Capon, Director of the Art Gallery of NSW and Barry Pearce the Senior Curator of Australian Art at the same gallery are both interviewed and Australian satirist Barry Humphries performs his ode to Boyd. Boyd is one of Australia’s best known painters and was Australian of the Year in 1995.
Notes by Damien Parer
Barry Humphries recites a poem.
Humphries: A new ode to Arthur Boyd. Affectionate doggeral by BH.
To be read aloud and not subjected to close intellectual scrutiny.
Here on the neutral walls of Denis Savill the brilliant skeins of genius unravel.
A genius overcharged and overjoyed. The works of Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd.
A century of artists, it's true, have helped us see Australia a-new.
Streeton captured our distance - blue and faint. A far-off fire, a trickle of white paint.
Roberts evoked the hillsides of our land.
Heysen knew eucalypts and Gruner, sand.
Fox adored picnics, Bunny painted women.
Lambert made portraits, not a few with him in.
Lindsay obsessed by kitschy country matters turned spivs and barmaids into nymphs and satirs.
And since that golden age between the wars, Lloyd Rees and Dobell, Drysdale, Nolan, Daws have, amongst many, mastered the chief facets of our homeland's topographic assets.
The images reach out, they seem to touch.
Emblems recur and echo like a rhyme.
The little train, the cripple with his crutch.
Boyd's memory with our memory seems to chime.
The bride, the windmill and the ominous crow.
Its eye like a red ember faintly glowing.
The humid gully is where the lovers go.
The centinal red dog, watchful all-knowing.
The ram with spiral horn but demonstrate Boyd's special power to move us and confront.
The Southern Cross glints down upon it all.
The themes of disolution, lust and birth. Nebuchadnezzar's torment, Icarus's fall.
Those rosy nudes dissolving in the earth.
In images one might describe as Freudian, till we knew better and just called them Boydian.
Then came Shoalhaven. Parapets of rock.
Discending to that silken kakhi stream.
The brilliance of these riverscapes. The shock of waking from a mythologic dream to smell the saplings, hear the bower bird's song and know the sacred peace of Bundanon.
Walls without Boyd are merely worthless plaster.
Let us salute our greatest living master!