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Michael Shannon

Lilydale Quarry, 1980 - 1982

SOLD

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oil on canvas

58.50 x 148.50

signed ‘Shannon' and indistinctly dated 80 or 82, l.l.c. and titled verso ‘Lilydale Quarry' in the artist's hand and 'No. 3’ possibly by the artist and/or at a later date. See below.

Provenance:

Private Collection, Sydney, till 2020

Literature & references:

Gordon Morrison, Elizabeth Cross, Ronald Millar and Patrick McCaughey, Michael Shannon - Australian Romantic Realist, Art Gallery of Ballarat retrospective exhibition catalogue, 2011, see p 109 for "Lilydale Quarry No. 3", painted in 1985, in the Parliament House Art Collection - which is a closely related but different work. Whilst the same size it differs both in date and in having been painted closer up (and thus raising the skyline and eliminating the distant landscape on the left). Given the questionable nature of the added "No 3" on the reverse of this work we are assuming our stated title to be correct.

Note:

This note relates to both the Shannon and Williams landscape paintings (cat. nos. 18 & 2)
“I only use the subject matter as an excuse to hang the picture on.”(1)

This statement goes a long way to explaining the gulf between these two paintings by two Melbourne artists – close contemporaries, both students of the Gallery School at the NGV and George Bell studio – who chose the same subject yet produced such radically different results.

On his regular visits between his home in Melbourne and his weekender near Heathcote, Shannon kept one eye on the road and the other on the lookout for new subjects: these included the spacious landscapes of central Victoria for which he is best known, but also the challenge of the less picturesque.  Quarries – Axedale and Lilydale specifically – hardly qualify as beautiful but he seems to have taken them on rather as he had previously the railway gantries on the city fringe.  These were depicted with cool dispassion – neither glorifying nor denigrating their stark industrial utility.  Similarly, with the quarries: hacked out of hillsides now bereft of trees and life, they rise like soulless walls in front of the viewer.  This work, unlike the starker examples where the rockface occupies most of the picture, allows the eye to roam from a human construct to a natural landscape, yet still made with the subject as central in itself. 

Williams, by contrast, seems less interested in the quarry as an autonomous feature in the landscape, as is in how he can use those horizontal striations to structure his painting – in particular, the way they can offer a foil to the nearly parallel blue line of the train.

If the results differ it may be that Shannon’s path was to spot a promising feature and then paint it - landscape first and painting second.  Williams seems to work the other way round: he has, in advance, a structure in the back of his mind and then sets out to find a landscape to fit it.  Painting first, and subject second. 

(1) Williams’ diary entry, 5 July, 1970, quoted in Patrick McCaughey, op cit. p 352

View artwork in Exhibition

Further works by the Artist

Taltarni

Michael Shannon

1989

oil on canvas, 71.00 x 197.50

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The Hazards

Michael Shannon

1980

oil on canvas, 102.00 x 76.50

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The Yarra from Johnson St Bridge

Michael Shannon

1979

oil on canvas, 91.50 x 182.50

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(Heathcote Landscape)

Michael Shannon

1984

oil on canvas, 51.00 x 61.00

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Evening Light, Heathcote

Michael Shannon

1989

oil on canvas, 76.00 x 183.00

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Blue Creek

Michael Shannon

1989

oil on canvas, 76.00 x 101.50

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Hillside near Tooborac

Michael Shannon

1988

oil on canvas, 92.00 x 152.00

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Port Willunga

Michael Shannon

1985

conte and pastel on paper, 50.50 x 94.00

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Port Willunga Evening

Michael Shannon

1985

oil on canvas, 76.00 x 152.00

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South Melbourne Cricket Ground

Michael Shannon

1975

oil on canvas, 75.50 x 101.00

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Robur Tea Warehouse

Michael Shannon

1971

oil on canvas, 130.00 x 76.50

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Suburban Landscape

Michael Shannon

1981

coloured pencil on paper, 57.00 x 76.00

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The Butcher's Shop

Michael Shannon

1965

oil on canvas, 91.50 x 122.00

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Queen’s Bridge

Michael Shannon

c. 1958

oil on board, 60.50 x 122.00

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The Pensioner

Michael Shannon

1958

oil on board, 106.50 x 61.00

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Luna Park

Michael Shannon

1957

oil on board, 122.00 x 61.00

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Looking across to Station Pier

Michael Shannon

1957

watercolour & gouache on paper, 28.00 x 36.00

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Study for Harvesting

Michael Shannon

1953

gouache on paper, 29.00 x 44.00

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Man watching trains

Michael Shannon

1956

oil on canvas, 76.00 x 61.00

SOLD

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Study for Wills Road

Michael Shannon

1985

pastel on paper, 88.00 x 64.00

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Townsville N.Q.

Michael Shannon

1967

ink pen and wash on paper, 18.00 x 28.00

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Construction: Thomson River Dam under Construction

Michael Shannon

1984

charcoal and pastel on paper, 69.00 x 49.00

SOLD

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The New World

Michael Shannon

c. 1960

oil on canvas, 101.00 x 76.00

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Sunday Morning, Townsville

Michael Shannon

1970

oil on canvas, 74.50 x 101.00

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Owl

Michael Shannon

1973

pastel and charcoal on paper, 63.00 x 48.00

SOLD

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Since its establishment in 1984, the Charles Nodrum Gallery’s exhibition program embraces a diversity of media and styles - from painting, sculpture & works on paper to graphics and photography; from figurative, geometric, gestural, surrealist & social comment to installation & conceptually based work.