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  • Your Hunter Valley Magazine

Capturing the Spirit of the Outback | MAX MANNIX


SACK RACE', OIL ON BOARD-STRETCHED CANVAS

Commencing 18 August until Sunday 21 August, renowned artist Max Mannix will hold an engaging solo art exhibition at Morpeth Gallery.

 

Max's art captures the vivid colours, sense of space and the spiritual quality of the Outback in ways very few artists can emulate. The Outback is the colloquial name for the vast, unpopulated, and mainly arid areas that comprise Australia's interior.


It's what inspires Max and gives him the themes for his paintings. The Red Centre is Max's heartland. Max Mannix paints slowly, adding more and more details to his canvas that you see the more closely you study his work. He paints on canvas board and stretch canvas with thirty different coloured oils.


"Max uses more colours than any artist I know," says Trevor Richards OAM, owner of Morpeth Gallery for 36 years.


"He doesn't premix his colours on his palette. Instead, he uses pure pigment of paint straight to the canvas - hence the vibrancy."

Max can't start a new painting until he knows the title of the painting. It comes first before he puts a line or mark on the canvas. With every other artist, the name of the painting comes last.


Perhaps this juxtaposition is how Max has a unique way of capturing the characters that inhabit country towns and regions – and the 'blow-ins' who visit them, escaping their busy city lives and careers. His paintings are full of humour, each one depicting country life, whether it be a yarn outside the local shop, a horse race, fishing, or drinking a beer with mates at the pub.


You don't get Mannix until you realise that sometimes the figures that line the rails at his bush races and raise their glasses at the bush picnic are all ghosts. His lanky drovers are all long gone, but the hot earth that grins through their transparent figures is still there. The gates really do hang as lop-sided and gaping as he paints them. Max's best work, like a true bushman, is alight with humour and passion – not that the people who have never been Outback would understand.


Max has exhibited all over the world, including in the USA. Max has illustrated many Australian Classic books, books of poetry and novels. His self-published art book featuring his biography and full-colour plates of his paintings continues to be a best seller. Over the decade's Max Mannix artworks have been featured on biscuit tins, placemats, coasters, greeting cards, medallions and art gifts.


Praising Max for his fifty-year-plus contribution to Australian art, Trevor says, "Max Mannix has made a huge contribution to the country and touched so many people's lives. People love him and his works of art."


You'll find Morpeth Gallery at 5 Green Street Morpeth, where entry is always free. For more information about Morpeth Gallery and other upcoming exhibitions, visit www.morpethgallery.com


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