Artworx Gallery | Contemporary Art & Gifts | Goolwa SA

Artworx Gallery - currently celebrating its 10th anniversary - is a regular award winner and the finest contemporary art gallery on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula.


The Power of Calm

Among the many paintings being produced today, an increasing proportion of them are meant to confront the viewer in some way. It may be controversial subject matter designed to jolt an opinion. It could be an image of the darker side of society or human life or maybe disfigurement of an otherwise pleasant thing for no other reason than to disturb us.

There are other disquieting paintings that have no shock-value in their subject matter but they have random and jarring colour use and confusing patterns. I have seen many such things in print and on TV that not only clash with everything else in the room, but more importantly they generate visual discord and may I suggest, even mental discord.

In a world that is so full of ugliness it seems we can't get enough of it and such art appears frequently especially in public buildings and institutions. Publicly funded art is hardly ever calming or understandable.

There is a lot to be said for paintings that produce calm, simply because they have power to do just that.

I once painted just a sky with clouds and a lawyer bought it for his office and told me it was for the times of stress when he could just turn his chair and look into the serenity of the clouds. It showed me that there is power in painted calmness particularly when people crave it amongst their daily troubles.

The calming influence of such paintings not only reaches out into the homes and offices in which they hang but they also have an effect on the artist too. We cannot be untouched by the things we paint because they come from the heart.

Angry, ugly and unfathomable art may draw praise from the art world, but it really helps no one else. Artist statements may attempt to legitimise their visual chaos, but often descend into coded artists’ speak that is so outrageous, that it is pure comedy.

The world needs calming and I think it is within the power of artists to spread calmness, beauty and awe through their works. It's a worthy cause rather than adding to society's dark side.

Mike Barr

Caption My Clouds - acrylic on canvas - 90x90cm. If you look at the painting long enough you can see the clouds move.

My Clouds - acrylic on canvas - 90x90cm. If you look at the painting long enough you can see the clouds move.


Liz and John Francis

12 Hays Street
Goolwa, South Australia

Phone: (08) 8555 0949


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