Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1890 – 1947
The works, Yallourn.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper linocut, printed in colour inks, from seven blocks Support: buff oriental laid tissue paper
Manufacturer's Mark: no manufacturer's mark.
Edition State: published state
Edition: edition of 50
Travel overseas and two quite distinct experiences of cubist and futurist art impacted enormously on the modernist style of Ethel Spowers. It was the teachings of Claude Flight at London’s Grosvenor School that most influenced her development. Almost entirely a printmaker, Spowers found her own sources of inspiration in Australia and saw the Yallourn coal mines in Victoria as a potent symbol of the new machine age. In this boldly modernist linocut, with its patterns of flat colour, Spowers created a composition with a slow and powerful rhythm. This she enhanced with a repetition of sweeping curves – grey clouds streak through the sky and endless processions of rail trucks haul coal from the mine. Power poles in a row stand as sentinels of the new modern age. They are balanced by the struts and curve of the bridge and, behind them, the bold diagonal forms of towering buildings. In shadow in the foreground are the remnants of a bygone era – two men collecting coal by hand with a horse and cart.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002