Jack Featherstone, Nigel Featherstone and Anna Georgia – Jack, John and Kempsey

Tuggeranong Arts Centre
Until 27 March 2021

This engaging exhibition, which begins TAC’s gallery year, is in three parts – the paintings of artist Jack Featherstone, an essay about his father by writer Nigel Featherstone and a film by Anna Georgia, with Jack as raconteur.

Nigel Featherstone talks to Barbie about Jack, John and Kempsey

Jack’s naive style paintings both document many events and places in his life and provide commentary on social and political issues. They are arresting works full of memories of people and place.

The Australian landscape and the people who inhabit it are often seen almost as aerial maps with many small figures going about their daily lives – they remind one of the work of Bruegel, but with a palette of vivid greens and yellows rather than the somberness of the Dutch master.

Nigel Featherstone’s 10,000 word essay is a beautiful piece of spare writing from which we can infer the depths of emotion and family ties that are not actually defined for us.

The writer’s unspoken words are powerful as an evocation of the laconic figure of his father and of a relationship that is clearly one of great love and pride – of which there is no need perhaps to speak. It made me ache, this underlay of held pain and grief, this overlay of joie de vivre and curiosity for life, the silences, the phlegmatically spoken.

Anna Georgia spent the summer visiting Jack at his home, and the resulting film provides personal and historical background for interpreting Jack’s paintings; it’s also a speaking portrait of the man, what concerns him, how he ticks. Visitors should allow the 35 minutes needed to view the entire film.

Image taken with permission of Tuggeranong Arts Centre at the exhibition: Jack Featherstone: View to Mount Palerang, 2020, acrylic on canvas, $1200