Sacred gods from Polynesia
23 May – 3 August 2014
The exhibition explores the relationship between atua and art, between spirits and sculpture, between gods and priests, between women and men. It looks at some of the most unique works of art in the Polynesian world and tries to make sense of an enduring mystery surrounding religious objects and their association with belief in gods.
Maori Frontal base-board [paepae] from the facade of a chief's storehouse 19th century (detail), National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1981
Island of the gods
13 June – 3 August 2014
The exhibition showcases a wide range of works—sculpture, textiles, paintings, architectural elements and ritual objects that will excite and surprise visitors, even those who have journeyed to the exotic island.
Tenganan, Bali Sacred Textile (geringsing wayang kebo) late 19th century (detail), National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1982
At five in the afternoon
12 July – 6 October 2014
Unlike many Abstract Expressionists, Robert Motherwell was an accomplished printmaker. He created 'painterly prints' with a spontaneity of gesture and freshness of expression rarely seen in this style before. The exhibition reveals how Motherwell created inventive collages and an imagery of gestural flourishes, and is drawn entirely from the Gallery's rich collection of his prints.
Robert Motherwell, Three figures 1989, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased with the assistance of the Orde Poynton Fund 2002 © Robert Motherwell/VAGA. Licensed by Viscopy
Natori Shunsen's kabuki actor prints
19 July – 12 October 2014
Stars of the Tokyo stage: Natori Shunsen's kabuki actor prints reveals the dynamic world of Japan's kabuki theatre through superb actor portraits created by artist Natori Shunsen (1886–1960) in the 1920s and 30s. A selection of spectacular kabuki robes further illustrates the extravagance of the theatrical form.
Natori Shunsen Ichikawa Sadanji II as Narukami in ‘Narukami’ 1926 (detail)
from the series Collection of creative portraits by Shunsen woodblock print National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 2006
Agony and ecstasy
5 Sept – 9 Nov 2014
Arthur Boyd: Agony and Ecstasy is a major exhibition of Boyd's art including more than 100 works across diverse media: paintings, prints, drawings, ceramic tiles and sculptures, and tapestries. The show is not a retrospective but rather provides the opportunity to take a close look at a number of works that have never or rarely been previously exhibited.
Arthur Boyd Nebuchadnezzar making a cloud 1968 oil on canvas The Arthur Boyd Gift, 1975 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra