‘… this is the contemporary challenge of seeing through moments of clarity while holding with frail hope the complex experience of being human …’
Of Beauty and Sadness brings together three strands of practice from NSW-based painter Michael Galovic. The first strand represents Galovic’s practice as an icon painter in the Christian tradition. This is the discipline that he is best known for and for which he has dedicated much of his practice since graduating from the Belgrade Academy of Arts, Yugoslavia, in 1974. As an icon painter Galovic is particularly interested in the Crucifixion and Stabat Mater (lit. ‘the Mother was standing’ [Latin], referring to the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cross).
Galovic’s second strand of practice is what he calls his ‘contemporary religious’ works. These paintings are strongly informed by the icon tradition but without adhering to all of its strict visual codes, allowing the artist to explore themes such as the Crucifixion more freely and to draw on wider influences including Paul Gauguin’s ‘The Yellow Christ’.
Galovic’s third strand of practice is his ‘contemporary non-religious works’ which embrace a range of mythological subjects and which arguably include his depicitions of Uluru in Central Australia, a subject which he began exploring around 16 years ago. Galovic’s Uluru-related works form a major component of this exhibition. They reveal the way in which his different strands may converge given Uluru’s sacred significance and his response to this, in some of the works, through the icon tradition.
After extensive travels around the world, Galovic settled in Australia in 1990. His work as an icon painter appears in hundreds of churches and religious institutions throughout Australia and overseas. He has held solo exhibitions around the country and the world, and he is a four-time finalist in the annual Blake Prize for Religious Art. Of Beauty and Sadness is his first exhibition in Darwin.
Above quote from Dr Rod Pattenden, ‘Dark Light: The Art of Michael Galovic’, in The Son of Man: Traditional icons and contemporary religious artwork by Michael Galovic’, 2014, p. 4.