Rafael Gurvich - 'The Swan & the Seagull'

Wednesday 5 - Sunday 16 December 2018


"When I look back over more than 45 years of painting, drawing and printmaking, it’s interesting how early I began to move away from depicting the human form as a dominant subject, becoming more interested in organic shapes, animals and birds. I think a combination of travel overseas and learning to observe behaviour in a much bigger world made me aware just how much the natural world held a wealth of ideas and images which, in turn, allowed greater freedom for emotional expression inclusive but beyond the human condition.

Since moving from the city (Melbourne) to Phillip Island 28 years ago, farm animals and the abundant bird life here have offered a particularly rich vein of exploration. In the past, the curiosity of cows and their calves, the perkiness of Fairy penguins and the antics of the pelicans featured prominently. From there, my interest in other bird species developed and intensified to incorporate Cape Barren geese, swans, galahs, cockatoos, gulls – and more.

This recent collection of work concentrates, for the most part, on the depiction of a single swan or seagull in a squarish format. The swan is a particular favourite, with its sensuous and seductive curves, sweeping wings and elegant shape, especially noticeable in the courting ritual or in the act of preening. And then there is the beauty of its flight as it takes off with a long sprint and an upward surge of beating wings gathering speed to glide skywards, or its artful descent throwing its wings into reverse to land in a flurry of feathers and extended feet."