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– Highlights

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Exhibition

Energies: Haines & Hinterding

25 Jun - 06 Sep

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Exhibition

Aleks Danko

30 Jul - 18 Oct

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Exhibition

Matthys Gerber

22 Sep - 06 Dec

Create and Learn at the

All Learning Programs

– Learning Events

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Conference

Dance, Theatre and Visual Art

20 Aug, 9.00am

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Aleks Danko & Tom Polo: Masterclass for teachers

29 Aug, 10.00am, Creative Studios National Centre for Creative Learning

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Talk

Exchange Series

31 Aug, 11.00am, Creative Studios National Centre for Creative Learning

Find out more about the

About the MCA

– News from inside the MCA

Digital Excursions; New Connections

Alex White reflects upon the newly launched program offerings and the possibilities these hold for students and teachers anywhere in Australia. more

Mug Shots

In preparation for the The Rocks Aroma Festival on July 26, MCA staff share some of the stories behind the mugs they use for their workplace beverages. more

MCA’s first Oculus Rift artwork experience

Don’t have enough (real) space to install artworks in? Why not make some virtual space! more

View the Collection

Browse Collection

– Spotlights from the collection online

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Volume One: MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection on display

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Remain in Light: Photography from the MCA Collections

On tour until October 2015

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ARTIST INTERVIEW

Watch our latest artist interview with Khaled Sabsabi

John Power

As an artist John Power (1881-1943) was a successful participant in the international avant-garde during the 1920s and 1930s. Power’s inherited wealth freed him from the pressures of commercial exhibitions and allowed him to retain most of his artistic output. John Power embodied Panofsky’s ideal of a humanist, respecting “moral values and that gracious blend of learning and urbanity which we can only circumscribe by the discredited word 'culture’”. He found painting an intensely satisfying profession which enabled him to explore and articulate his intellectual and spiritual concerns.

In 1977 the Australian War Memorial purchased John Power’s Ypres, an iconic battleground in Australian military memory, commemorating human endurance and massive slaughter. Independent of the restrictions placed on an official war artist, Power painted an allegory of the devastation that his duties as an army surgeon subjected him to.

Ypres is Power’s only surviving tribute to his World War I experience as a surgeon. The futility of healing bodies likely to be again shattered is a possible explanation for Power’s rejection of medicine as a profession, in order to dedicate himself to painting.

After the War, John Power transferred his considerable energies from the exterior, public arena of medicine into the more interior sphere of his private exploration of art. When Power proposed marriage to his future wife, Edith Mary James, she replied that he must decide once and for all whether to be a doctor, a concert pianist or an artist. She undertook to support him in his choice. Edith provided a driving force of encouragement and security for her husband. Dealing with the daily matters of life, Edith’s more than competent control of their material wellbeing freed Power to devote himself to the development of his talents. Almost in homage to his wife, Power worked on images which utilised his own, obviously satisfying, married life as both subject and theme. His polished and luxuriously decorative paintings of interiors and still lives depict and celebrate the elegant domestic settings in which the Powers harmoniously lived.

Power’s lifelong obsession was to unravel the intricacies and inner workings of art, music, mathematics and microbiology; to penetrate below surface appearances to the underlying ordered truth of the matter.

[Extract from Donna Lee Brian’s John Power: A private iconography in Opening Transformations, published by the MCA and Art and Australia on the occasion of the opening of the MCA in 1991.]

John Power