Exhibition launches in an explosion of colour
  • Wednesday 04 May 2022
Rex Backhaus-Smith

A deep insight into one of the Sunshine Coast’s renowned artistic travellers, Rex Backhaus-Smith, is on show from May 13 at Caloundra Regional Gallery and it’s got the local art world talking.

Art on Cairncross owner Jane Caraffi has applauded the artist’s latest authentic exhibition.

“Rex Backhaus-Smith’s ability to convey the true feelings of the Australian bush from the visually apparent to the spiritually sublime is unequalled and comes from a complete understanding of his subject,” Ms Caraffi said.

Feeling of the Place: from here to there and back again examines the depth and breadth of the artist’s works and follows his expeditions from his early landscapes of outback towns, and vivid works from recent trips to the top end, through to his own backyard.

The exhibition is on show from May 13 to June 26 at Caloundra Regional Gallery, Omrah Avenue, open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am and the artist will be in residence from 11am to 1pm every Sunday during the exhibition.

Sunshine Coast Council Division 2 Councillor Terry Landsberg said showcasing local artists of this calibre in the gallery was a privilege.

“We have a wealth of talent here within our region and showcasing them is a way of giving back to, as well as strengthening, the local arts sector,” Cr Landsberg said.

“Rex Backhaus-Smith is one of Queensland’s most inspiring and celebrated artists and the exhibition is a coup for the gallery.”

Caloundra Regional Gallery Curator Jo Duke said Rex’s remarkable journey began in the late 1940s and continued today.

“Encapsulating in an exhibition, the ‘extraordinariness’ of Rex is challenging, but he has helped by having documented most of his journeys through albums, detailing every trip and his sketchbooks taken on each journey,” Ms Duke said.

“Take time to meander through the memories captured in his albums and sketch books filled with thoughts and ideas and unfinished sketches — a privilege that we, the public, rarely have a chance to see.

“For anyone wanting to learn more about this fascinating artist, our exhibition catalogue features a thoughtful and thorough examination of Rex’s life, work and style, with a feature essay: ‘Into the Light: a Painter’s Pilgrimage’ penned by his former pupil Dr Jill Braddock.”

Of his own work, Rex said his artistic expression had changed over the years from an artist, who delighted in painting what he saw, to one who preferred to interpret what he felt about what he saw.

“There was a period lasting many years when I was deeply involved with the expression of light and atmosphere,” Mr Backhaus-Smith said.

“Time has led me in different directions such as the expression of feelings about what I was looking at and I wanted to tell a story in paint.

“I would like to feel that my paintings evoke emotional involvement and at the same time, challenge the viewer. I like to paint in all mediums and suggest through colour, shapes and subject matter, the stories in paint.”