What is the concept of Solitude to us now? :: Out + About In the Galleries :: Solitaire exhibition at TarraWarra

Do you ever ponder whether the concept of solitude is a good or a bad thing?

Is the prospect of having an hour or so to yourself,
perhaps to read, or listen to music, to write, to create, to cook, to garden,
something promising and enticing? 

A luxury, perhaps?

Or is the concept of time alone something which you dread?

And besides, with iPhones and iPads at our finger tips
wherever we go,
it seems,
perhaps there really isn't such a thing as solitude anymore.

It's getting rather jolly hard to actually find a true state of solitude
in our busy lives…assuming, of course, that being on one's own
but being connected through social media classifies as
not being alone. 

Or is it?

They are all fascinating questions…
probably best thought about over a good glass of red wine,
and some witty company,
as most of the Big Questions are…to my mind, at least. 

Solitaire :: 1. any of various card games played by one person…. 2. diamond or other gem set in a piece of jewellery by itself

— origin: early 18th century, from Latin 'solitaries' = 'alone

I love that both of the dictionary meanings for solitaire are positive ones…
nothing lonely about a beautiful diamond on its own,
and the card game is, well,
a game…that's not a bad thing either. 

And it is exactly that positive perspective which seems to emanate
from the exhibition Solitaire which has been curated by Anthony Fitzpatrick
at the TarraWarra Museum of Art.

Sub-titled Singular figures in modern and contemporary
Australian painting and sculpture,

the exhibition is on now until April 27,
and if you are in Melbourne, I do
urge you to go and see it,
because it is goooood. Very good.


We kept wandering back to this work,
Noel McKenna's painting, blithely called "City Painting B",
a title which allows the viewer to make whatever one likes
out of the subject matter.

It depicts 18 snapshots of everyday life….
…Sort of a 1992 version of Instagram,
before its time, in a way...

…understated observations on aspects of solitude in contemporary life: the silent reverie of watching birds fly over the chimneys and rooftops of suburbia; the simple pleasure of walking the dog along an empty street; the disconnectedness of two people watching television, alone together ….to remind us we are all inescapably implicated in the intimate observations of daily solitude...

— Anthony Fitzpatrick, curator Solitaire

Unlike most exhibitions which are centred around an artist, a movement, a place
or an era, this exhibition, of over 40 works from selected galleries,
is purely centred around a concept. 

And because it's a concept which has perhaps never before been
quite so topical to us in society as it is now,
with the plethora of social media as well as our insanely busy schedules,
whereupon we pack so much more into our expectations than
any previous generations would have dreamed possible,
the exhibition really strikes a chord of thought and wonder. 

So the only factor left to ponder, is this...

Is solitude something to think about by oneself,
or as a discussion with another?

The irony is quite delicious….

Details of the exhibition:
TarraWarra Museum of Art // 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Rd Healeville Victoria.
Solitaire and the concurrent Michelle Usher exhibition on now until April 27, 2014.
More details on the museum's website here.

This Sunday, March 16, there is a special Artists in Conversation event,
with one of the artists, Heather B Swann, the poet Kevin Brophy and 
curator Anthony Fitzpatrick leading a conversation at the gallery. Details here.

Images taken by blue fruit at tarrawarra with permission from the museum.
Please do not copy or re-pin these images.