Saturday, 11 July 2009

The curve


With apologies to Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a city in possession of a good harbour, must be in want of an icon. In this city, there is an immense affection for the bridge. The Bridge. The Opera House is an architectural wonder; it is beautiful; it graces its location. But we don't have a heart-felt and abiding affection for it. We do for the bridge. I do ...

This is the curve of the northern abutment taken from the Kirribilli or eastern side. I had my back to the opera house - literally. Beside the photograph is a 1928-29 painting by Grace Cossington-Smith who - I feel certain - would have understood inately my feelings about the "coat-hanger" - the old girl. Cossington-Smith died in 1984 after 92 years of spinsterhood on the North Shore of Sydney in the suburb of Turramurra. The style you see here is typical of her work. Walking through a gallery of her canvases, my head is flooded by the richness of a Bach 'cello suite - say, either of the Minors - or even Brahms' Piano Trio in C minor. She is definitely a Minor: full of such melancoly and loss that she sweeps up with a riot of geometry and colour.

19 comments:

Rosemildo Sales Furtado said...

Olá amiga! Adorei o teu espaço, tem lindas fotos, porém seria bem melhor se colocasses um tradutor, pois ficaria mais fácil para entender e comentar.

Abraços,

Furtado.

Julie said...

Here is the translation:

Olá friend! I adored your space, has pretty photos, however it would be well better if you placed a translator, therefore it would be more easy to understand and to comment. Abraços,

So ... I will try to include a translator. I appreciate your words, friend.

Ann said...

Thank you. I got the same message and my Spanish is too rusty and I couldn't get anything useful out of google translate.

Julie said...

Looking at the Brazil address, I took at guess at Portuguese ... it could just be a spammer though.

Joan Elizabeth said...

What a great placement of the two images -- inspired. I really like Cossington-Smith's paintings and recogonised her work instantly.

Now that's an interesting thought ... do you think that one day our photographic style will have become such a strong individual voice that our work will be recognisable?

Sarah Lulu said...

The bridge is a powerful symbol for me ..isn't that painting magic too?!

Lovely post. Thanks.

J Bar said...

Great post Julie. Fantastic to see your photo next to the painting and I was fascinated by the details on the artist. Great contrast. Must admit that I don't know much about Australian artists but want to learn more.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

brattcat said...

Excellent post, Julie. Fascinating, isn't it, how certain shapes, smells, textures evoke certain pieces of music for us. You've given us something to see and hear today. You always give us something to think about. Thank you.

Eamon said...

Great photos Julie - how do you get the side-by-side photos in some of the posts? Thanks.

Sean said...

Interesting post. I have enjoyed your blog alot lately (no hidden meaning here).:::)))

altadenahiker said...

Graceful piece Julie. And I'm off to look up Cossington-Smith.

Do you know, before meeting your blog, I knew next to nothing about Australia. Just a few movies. Oh, some ne'er do well second- cousins who lived in America by way of Australia by way of Norway. He was a CPA and got quite famous for a day for embezzling $5 million from Wells Fargo.

Julie said...

Thank you for your supportive comments: I do set out to create a warmth and involvement in my posts. This could be what many of you you are responding to. Goodo ...

Eamonm, I have responded to you by email.

AH, that is excellent. My country can often come across as a caricature because my people like to bullshit others! However, I have to break all CDPB rules to get the story across. Them's the breaks!

However engrossing this is, it is also immensely time-consuming. I sort of treat it as a volunteer journalism job. I will have to reduce my hours in my paid job to get enough time soon!

AB said...

Who copied who?

The Tyne Bridge in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England is a much smaller version of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, its length measuring 397 metres and the main span 161 metres. There is much controversy surrounding the two bridges and which one may have been a model for the other. Although the Tyne Bridge was opened in 1928 - four years before the Harbour Bridge was opened - the tender was submitted and contract signed for the Sydney Harbour Bridge in March 1924. The designs for the Harbour Bridge were put forward by Dr. J C Bradfield before this date. The tender for the Tyne Bridge was accepted and contract signed later that year in December 1924.

From Sydney Harbour Bridge - Australia's Culture Portal

Julie said...

I know that reference is an Australian Government site, however, try this one too Bradfield's Bridge
which is a site created by my university of which Bradfield was a graduate. The design was created anywhere from 1903 to 1916. Bradfield was more the constructing engineer than the designer. But in general parlance that is splitting hairs.

Reference is made in this site to a similarity to the Hell Gate Bridge (1917)over the East River in NY and this is obvious when looking at Wiki Hell Gate Bridge

Wiki says that the Tyne Bridge was also based on the Hell Gate Bridge but there is no reference for this. Interesting to note that although the designer for Tyne and for Sydney was different, the construction firm for each was Dorman Long & Co. of Middlesbrough.

AB said...

Hell Gate Bridge - what a great name. There is a definite similarity.

By the way, in 2001, Newcastle put up another bridge - the Winking Eye. You guys in Sidney have not copied that one yet?

Julie said...

That is something to get my poor brain around!

As for copying, I'll get my mates down in the the Department for Keeping-up-with-the-Poms onto it. They're a smidge busy at the mo' watching something on the tele from Wales.

Jilly said...

What a great post. I love the words too, of course. I well remember Grace Cossington-Smith's work from the years I lived in Australia and I loved her work, the soft colours, the perspective, her feeling.

Sally said...

Have you read Stravinsky's Lunch by Drusilla Modjeska, about GCS and Stella Bowen, two stellar lights of Australian modernism?

Drop me aline if you haven't and want to....

Sally said...

http://www.eclectica.org/v5n3/skea_modjeska.html