I’ve been to Heide more times than I care to remember. When I lived in Melbourne, I was lucky to live about a 20 minute drive from there. It is a beautiful oasis in the middle of suburbia.
This time, I was alone. The little BGs were in the safe hands of Nana and Papa and Mr BG was recording in Brunswick (I’m no Yoko, sitting around a recording studio would have to be the most boring thing in the world…). This means I could stay for as long as I wanted in the galleries, taking my time to look at things without having to kid wrangle at the same time.
I was there to see the Mirka Mora exhibition, but I was pleasantly surprised to see an exhibition of the drawings of Joy Hester and Albert Tucker. I’m more fascinated in their story as a creative couple, and their dynamics together, than in their output. It’s that whole Heide period that intrigues me.
Mirka was a collection of drawings completed over her extensive career. It also explained her focus on children and innocence, as a means of recapturing a childhood lost during the Holocaust. It also featured photographs of Mirka of her time in Australia and her close association with Heide and the Reeds.
However, the aspect I found the most interesting was the exhibition’s location, Heide I, which was the original farmhouse in which the Reeds first lived. My favourite rooms there would have to be the kitchen, with its beautiful yellow walls, the gorgeous blue and white tiles, and the library.
The joint Hester/Tucker exhibition was fascinating, as it detailed their drawings from the period they were together as a couple. While Hester’s primary artistic expression was through drawing and pen and ink, Tucker viewed drawing as a step toward the end medium of painting. However side by side, their drawings show the influences each had on each other’s work, as well as the themes they explored concurrently.
In the early stages of their relationship, Tucker as the more senior showed a more guiding hand to Hester while she was a student. However as Hester,more attuned to a pen or pencil, was freer and more epxressionistic in her work, her influence began to show in Tucker’s own drawings. The exhibition is also interspersed with Tucker’s photos, and a beautiful one of Hester,and Sweeney as a baby, both asleep in the bed.
The visit was rounded out with a walk through the kitchen gardens, with lunch in the cade. Most of the food was nice, but service was incredibly slow, especially for a lunch that was largely pre-prepared. I’ll bring a picnic lunch instead next time!