Official Opening of the ‘Eternal Present: The still life paintings of William Robinson’ Exhibition
Our 24th Queensland Governor and 25th Governor-General, Dame Quentin Bryce and Mr Michael Bryce; the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth, Senator Brandis; Chancellor, Mr Tim Fairfax; other distinguished guests – including, if I may for a moment be selective, Dr Robinson and Mrs Robinson; ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to be with you today.
I at once acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands, and express respect for Elders past and present.
When I opened the Brisbane State High School Arts Festival recently, I could not help but mention one of the school’s illustrious alumni, William Robinson.
Today, I am delighted to find myself in the heart of QUT, another great Queensland educational institution of which Dr Robinson is a distinguished alumnus.
We are here today to welcome, to admire, and to enjoy a selection of his work in a genre that has fascinated artists for centuries – the still life.
The paintings and drawings in this collection capture a moment in time – that 'Eternal Present' of the exhibition’s title.
Each celebrates a unique interplay of light, shadow, pattern, shape, and texture in an arrangement of objects, often carefully chosen and placed.
William Robinson’s still lifes are an invitation to slow down, to contemplate stillness and the quiet beauty of everyday objects from flowers to fabrics, from pomegranates to stunned mullet. Yes, there are smiles to be had too.
These paintings will draw visitors into their world just as the Robinson we have at Government House does.
The blissfully-titled William and Shirley, flora and fauna – generously on loan from the Queensland Art Gallery – greets visitors just as they enter the 1865 wing of Government House.
There they find William and Shirley gazing directly at them from one corner of a riotous Beechmont landscape.
It never fails to stop visitors in their tracks. It’s simply wonderful!
So is this exhibition, Eternal Present. It is another generous initiative of QUT, which I thank wholeheartedly for its commitment to Dr Robinson’s work, so much of which is made available to Queenslanders and other visitors through this wonderful gallery.
I thank guest curator Mr John McDonald for bringing together this marvellous collection, and in writing notes that so clearly and eloquently inform, educate and explain, inviting us into a deeper appreciation of these works.
And I thank the partnership of William and Shirley Robinson for continuing to share with us the craft and skill of this stunningly talented Queenslander, and above all his artistic vision, by turns quirky, funny, humble, majestic and beautiful.
It is with the greatest of pleasure that I now officially open the William Robinson exhibition 'Eternal Present'. Thank you.