Scholars of Australian art agree that Australian art has undergone several transformations. Australian art in the pre-colonial era were characterized by the practices of the natives, later on the coming of the colonialist led to introduction of art associated with their culture.
‘Australian contemporary art scene is divided into Australian and Aboriginal
art respectively. This is a divide originating from the colonization of Australia that
began in the 1770’s, and hence, resulting in an Australian art descending from a
so-called Western art practice consisting of works of art created in compliance
with Western traditions (Persson 2011, 13).
Towards the end 1910, Australian art experienced massive changes leading to what we call modern art. The distinct features of modern art were form and structure (Sturken and Cartwright (2009, 311). This new age was very successful surviving well over five decades that saw wars come and go, tough economic times, advancement in technology, not forgetting societal changes that took place over this time. According Persson (2011, 18) towards the end of 1970s contemporary art replaced the concept of modern art. This argumentation is suggestive that modernist art ceased in Australia. Further, Persson (2011, 18) contends that modern art was only interested with form, without any interest in the content of the art piece. For example, art pieces produced during this time neglected the concept of history or culture. Contrastingly, art in postmodernism era incorporated trapping of modernism such as social or cultural aspects that define life in the present world. While the modernism and postmodernism age elicited the transformation of Australian art, artistic aspects of the early ages have distinctive stake in the modern and postmodern Australian art.
Critique of cultural imperialism has played a critical role in changing artistic design in the contemporary age. Further, scholars assert that art in the postmodern era expanded ideas in art including visual appearance as well as the nature of vision and the status of the art object. Largely, the aim of this new development was to incorporate the concept of culture in the content of art. Additionally, media display has become a primary feature in the Australian art gallery in the postmodern era.
A number of authors agree that in primitive art the only significant thing that one would find is form. However, in the postern modern era, art has transported us the world of man’s activity to a world of aesthetic exaltation (Coleman 2009, 3). In essence the link between modern art and postmodern art is the incorporation of culture of social aspects affecting our lives. For instance, the media display in the present age is different to that witnessed in 1960s. Largely, the new development in this industry tends to address the concept of aesthetic exaltation as opposed to the past. Arguably, postmodernists had an aim of giving the audience a new way of viewing films. To make the audience have a new perspective of film, they diversified in different styles of presenting films and genres. I personally support the touch that postmodernists added to the film sector. The new age of film presented a lasting experience in the audience’s mind that brought more connection and understanding to this form of art.
Architecture was greatly affected when it came to this revolution. Modernist’s works of architecture were very formal, with consistent shapes and styles when it came to designs. While modernism offered a single form of design tailored for buildings, postmodernists however brought diversification and creativity to this field. Further, critics settle that their forms of designs were created to instill lasting impressions on the streets having combined designs and ides of the past, with the fast rising technology of the future (Quek 2007, 136). Architectures in the modern age only intended the buildings to serve their purpose and paid little attention to adding a sense of life to the designs. Modernist’s architecture was described as having failed to fulfill the diversified dynamics of the society like communities and family. Others termed them as being dull and failed to make reference to historical designs in architecture. Postmodern architecture received positive response because for one, they included pavements where people would interact as they went about their businesses. I strongly believe the critics were correct by all aspects. Lesli (2002, 156) in article, he argued that postmodern architecture integrated the use of technology; building materials such as glass, steel and concrete; which enabled them develop different styles in which buildings appeared.
“It was a design overburdened with too many different forms of fenestration on the façades (Lesli 2002, 156).
This paved way for unique structures such as skyscrapers, which brought architecture to a completely new dimension. This was a new dawn and there was no turning back.
Post modernization was also felt in the field of visual arts due to various developments. Initially, it was largely dominated by the British culture. With time however, thanks to technological advancement like the use of led technology, a new page was turned in visual arts. Graphics could also be used to make the work more appealing to the eye. Fibers could also be integrated to produce a nice finish to artwork. Critics however argued that this new era lacked in originality due to the inclusion of technology that scrapped off traditional aspects. However, some critics still believe that aspects of aboriginal art exist today. On the other hand I view technology as a stepping stone when it comes to advancement of art, it opened doors to a brighter side of art that was embraced by the new generation.
In conclusion, postmodernism brought a new era that brought positive change to the field of Australian art. Television and film industry gained more popularity to due proper communication skills that were more appealing to the audience, architecture was taken to a whole new level which aimed at creating a lasting impact, proving that the sky is the limit. The field of cinema also changed as it created a lasting experience and was designed in a way that the audience would familiarize with. Technology also brought visual arts to a whole new level that communicated ideas in a better way than before. Postmodernist’s were essential in the advancement of art and proved modernists to be too limited. The efforts made by this new era are incredible and deserve credit. Although faced with criticism, it is high time everyone appreciated the revolution they have brought in the field of art.
Sturken, Marita, and Cartwright, Lisa. 2009. Practices of Looking: An Introduction toVisual Culture. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp 311-328.
Leslie, D. Johnson. 2002. Australian Architecture 1901-51: Sources of Modernism. Sydney: University of Sydney Library.
Quek, Raymond. 2007. Situating the Postmodern: the Delay of the Architectural Avant-Garde Beyond the Western World. SAJAH, ISSN 0258-3542, volume 22, number 1, 134–150.
Coleman, Elizabeth B. (2009). Historical ironies: the Australian Aboriginal art revolution. Historical ironies: the Australian Aboriginal art revolution. Journal of Art Historiography. Number 1.
Persson, Beatrice. (2011). In-Between: Contemporary Art in Australia Cross-Culture, Contemporaneity, Globalization. Gothenburg Studies in Art and Architecture nr 33.