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Belle Île at MAG&M: Celebrating an Enduring Australian Link to a Famed French Landscape

Source: Northern Beaches Council
Archived 25 Aug 2018 - Posted: 28 Jun 2018
Luke Sciberras, Back to the Sun, Belle Île, 2018, oil on board, 120 x 160cm
Manly Art Gallery & Museum is soon to host an exhibition featuring the work of painters Luke Sciberras and Euan Macleod from their recent expedition to Belle Īle, France - a journey inspired by the landscape and memory of the expatriate Australian painter John Peter Russell (1858-1930).

Belle Île: Luke Sciberras & Euan Macleod (13 July – 2 September 2018) will run concurrently with the Art Gallery of NSW’s exhibition, John Russell: Australia’s French Impressionist (21 July – 11 November 2018).

Manly Art Gallery & Museum Exhibition Curator, Katherine Roberts said the inspiration for these paintings is a landscape far away, but one familiar to audiences through the work of celebrated Impressionist Claude Monet and John Peter Russell.

“The aptly-named island of Belle Île lies off Brittany. Its coastline varies from sharp cliff edges, to gentle sandy beaches and harbours, all made famous through music, literature and the visual arts,” Ms Roberts said.

Joint exhibitor, Luke Sciberras said there are particular locations that hold an almost mythical significance in the history of Australian landscape painting, paradoxically one of them is off the coast of Brittany in France.

“Iconic paintings have been wrestled and wrested in the wild winds there by Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and most formatively for me, John Peter Russell, a painter who set off from Sydney with his mate Tom Roberts in 1883 on a grand adventure that was to last the main part of Russell’s lifetime - and would change the trajectory of Western painting,” Luke Sciberras said. 

Euan Macleod said Henri Matisse’s use of colour was directly influenced by Russell at Belle Île.

“The opportunity for Luke and me to show our Belle Île works together at Manly Art Gallery & Museum is really special.

“Belle Île is synonymous with Russell and most of his best works were inspired by this one place. The idea of going there was compelling - to understand what drove him and his work,” said Euan Macleod.

The Belle Île exhibition allows audiences to study the development of Luke’s and Euan’s paintings and follow their creative processes as they explore the landscape; from their initial sketches in pen, ink and gouache, to the larger oil paintings completed in their studios.

The exhibition will be officially opened by Wayne Tunnicliffe, Head Curator Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales on Friday 13 July 2018, 6 – 8pm

Artists in conversation: Sunday 15 July 2018, 3 – 4pm

Join the artists for afternoon tea and a walk through the exhibition as they discuss their shared experiences of Belle Île, and look at their plein air sketches, works on paper and paintings.

Belle Île: Luke Sciberras & Euan Macleod

13 July – 2 September 2018

Manly Art Gallery & Museum, 1 West Esplanade & Commonwealth Parade, Manly

For details, go to the gallery website or call Manly Art Gallery & Museum on 9976 1421.

This article archived 25 Aug 2018

Luke Sciberras, Bangor, Belle Île, 2018, oil on board, 120 x 160cm
Luke Sciberras, Pinnacles between, Belle Île, 2018, oil on board, 160 x 240cm
Euan Macleod, NEEDLES, 2017, oil on polyester, 216 x 122cm
Euan Macleod, STEPS TO BEACH, 2017-18, oil on acrylic on polyester, 180 x 137cm
Euan Macleod, GUILLOTINE, 2017-18, oil on acrylic on linen, 168 x 112cm
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