Abstraction 17: A Field of Interest, c. 1968 at Charles Nodrum Gallery
The Field ushered in a new era for the Australian art world. The radical 1968 exhibition, which inaugurated the National Gallery of Victoria's St Kilda Road premises, presented 74 works by 48 artists working in abstract sculpture, colour field painting and hard-edged geometric abstraction – styles then associated with New York City masters. It pioneered the careers of a generation of Australian artists and represented a move from staid figurative traditions (the NGV's walls were famously plastered in silver foil) towards a bright-eyed internationalism that embraced the avant-garde.
This April, Charles Nodrum Gallery will present Abstraction 17: A Field of Interest, a group exhibition that coincides with the NGV's much-anticipated restaging of The Field. The show features additional work by artists who originally participated, such as Robert Jacks, Col Jordan, Janet Dawson, Trevor Vickers and Michael Johnson. But it also includes artists such as Margaret Worth, who shared a studio with Sydney Ball, and Richard Dunn, who happened to be working in London – figures who were overlooked by the curators, but whose voices fill important gaps in the cultural conversation. Abstraction 17 also marks Nodrum's passion for mid-century Australian abstraction and will precede a follow-up exhibition, focusing on work from the mid-1970s, later in the year. The show opens on April 26 and runs until May 19, 2018.