The French word ‘Grisaille’ is a term in art theory for the practice of using a colour palette restricted to grey. Grey is an intermediate colour, neither black nor white, and is often associated with a sense of tedium or lifelessness. However it is also a colour that can be neutral, elegant and calm - discordant qualities which are intriguing.
Artists have long used the wide range of tonal variations available in the colour grey to explore shape, contrast and weight, restricting the colour palette focuses the eye on structure, technique and subject matter. This is evident in Pablo Picasso's powerful antiwar painting Guernica
1937 painted in a palette of grey, black and white. The starting point for this exhibition came from the recent re-discovery of a relatively unknown and undervalued painting in the Newcastle Art Gallery collection by Warren Knight (born 1941) Do-to-kal
1969. Knight arrived in Australia in 1967 and was included in an exhibition of contemporary Australian Art by the Swiss curator Harald Szeemann (1933-2005) who was brought to Australia by John Kaldor in 1971. Project 2
was held in Sydney’s Bonython Gallery and in Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria in 1971.
This exhibition is drawn exclusively from the Newcastle Art Gallery collection and aims to explore all aspects of this achromatic wonder. Included will be a diverse range of artists, such as: John Brack, Delafield Cook, Noel Counihan, James Gleeson, Frank Hinder, Max Linegar, Bea Maddock, Brett McMahon, Claire Martin, Godfrey Miller, Nigel Milsom, John Firth-Smith, Mike Parr and Fred Williams.
Max LINEGAR, Seascape 2003, pastel, chalk on gesso ground on paper, 84.0 x 194.0cm, Newcastle Art Gallery collection, Courtesy the artist