William ROBINSON, Springbrook with lifting fog Enlarge 1 /1

William ROBINSON

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia born 1936

Springbrook with lifting fog 1999 Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on linen

Dimensions: 203.0 h x 259.0 w cm framed (overall) 2066 h x 2628 w x 58 d mm
Acknowledgement: Purchased with funds from the Nerissa Johnson Bequest 1999
Accession No: NGA 99.122

William Robinson has made a unique contribution to the Australian landscape tradition, based on a deeply personal response to place. Far removed from images of the dry interior by artists like Sidney Nolan and Russell Drysdale, Robinson’s mature work conveys a distinctive vision of the lush rainforest environment of south-east Queensland. At the same time he broadens the notion of landscape to encompass a fluctuating environment of rainforest and ocean, ground and sky, luminosity and darkness.

In the 1980s Robinson incorporated multiple viewpoints in his paintings in response to the vast, wild, rolling terrain of the Darlington Range where he lived. He was also increasingly interested in conveying aspects of time. Springbrook with lifting fog came from one of the artist’s many walks to Goomoolahra and surrounding bushland. It is based on knowledge of place, rather than specific description. Here Robinson’s aim is to give viewers the feeling that they are surrounded by a light fog, looking out to the light of the sea and sky, to the sunlight filtering over the Tweed River to the right, and the clearing sunlit trees above and behind.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

This painting came from one of my many walks to Goomoolahra and some of the surrounding bushland. It is a landscape based on knowledge of place, rather than specific description.

What I hope to give the viewers of this painting is the feeling that they are themselves surrounded by this light, gentle fog. If they are truly in the landscape, and not merely passers-by at a picture in a gallery, they should feel that there is a sensation of fog into which they have moved. They are then looking out of this mist to the light of the sea and sky to the left and front, to the sunlight filtering over the Tweed River to the right, and the clearing sunlit trees above and behind. I tried to reveal gentleness in the landscape, with trees emerging slowly and warmly in the sunlight. I have tried to find ways to include the viewer in the work – to live in the vision itself. In earlier paintings, where I was struggling with the composition and the construction, I did not always satisfactorily grasp the atmosphere to capture the viewer.

I worked particularly on the three-dimensional construction of the clouds and their relationship to sun and sea. This area provides a window for moving out of the forest into luminous space.

William Robinson 2002


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