We inhabit the corrosive littoral of habit 1940
oil on canvas
40.7 x 51.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Anonymous gift, 1941
© Courtesy of the artist
James Gleeson is one of Australia's most important artists. For more than six decades his work has explored the realms and possibilities of the Surrealist creed and sought to show that there exists, beyond the obvious and everyday, an alternative reality experienced through dreams, hallucinations, and differing mental states. Rather than focusing on purely private fantasies, the most significant contributions made by Surrealist artists, including James Gleeson, are the visionary and profound statements that comment on the human condition. Although James Gleeson has been the subject of two monographs and several smaller, focused exhibitions, a full-scale retrospective of his work has never been seen.
James Gleeson: Beyond the Screen of Sight includes 120 paintings and works on paper from public, corporate and private collections throughout Australia. Many of these works have not been seen since their initial exhibition and several have been recently repatriated to Australia. A detailed and fully illustrated catalogue, published by The Beagle Press, accompanies the exhibition. The publication includes essays by several art historians, which examine various aspects of Gleeson's career, and provides a comprehensive catalogue checklist.