© Sidney Nolan Trust
Between 1942 and 1944 Sidney Nolan served in the Australian Army. Stationed in the Wimmera district of north-west Victoria, he was responsible for guarding emergency food supplies. While Nolan's role in the army was minor, his time in the Wimmera profoundly affected his development as an artist. Living in the bush he began to paint the landscape for the first time.
In Kiata Nolan captures the peculiar Australian beauty of the vast, open and essentially featureless Mallee landscape. Deceptively simple, almost naive in style, the work is a complex arrangement of horizontal and vertical lines that refer to his earlier experiments in abstraction. The open horizontal blue and gold landscape with its central figure anticipates Nolan's iconic 1946 painting Ned Kelly, while also paying homage to the brilliant light-blue skies of the Australian Impressionists.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008