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West Australian 1990

Getting to the heart of nature
David Bromfeld

Sally Douglas at Gallery Australia and Mike Green at Perth Galleries are offering first rate watercolour shows this week. This is unusual.

Watercolours are usually the province of the “Talented” landscapist limply recycling the gum tree once again. There is non of that about Sally Douglas. An exquisitely balanced surface is also the name of the game for Mike Green. He specialises in chairs set in moodily shaded period interiors and spotlit by shafts of bright sunlight from barely glimpsed windows.

Images of badly lit old furniture don’t sound very appealing but their charm derives from Green’s ability to build up the most extraordinarily – rich colours in his shadows. The handling of the blue and gold Chinese cabinet in the background of Chair, Napoleon Room. The Briars is quite admirable. It is a very difficult thing to do this without loosing the balance of the picture as a whole. The artist must be precisely aware of the full impact of every coloured wash on the whole image.

Green also disposes of a very dry wit. Some images show a male and female chair close together. One shows a group of antique seats lined up as for a photo session.