Esteemed MSWPS member and Victorian Artists Society Fellow, Jo Reitze’s long awaited grand retrospective (and current works) exhibition, ‘Celebrating Life in Gouache Oil and Pen’, finally opened officially on Sunday July 4 2021. With Covid lockdowns and restrictions intervening, the original planned exhibition date had long gone. But with the exhibition finally opening, and located on all three of the magnificent upper VAS galleries, a magnificent and remarkable display is now revealed. Presented are 112 works spanning 50 years, from the 1970s to today and displayed in a visually sumptuous arrangement, some in the ‘salon’ style of the Royal Academy. The exhibition presents a variety of subjects including self-portraiture, still life, landscapes and seascapes, but it is the larger works of colourful gardens that abound. Many of these depict her own garden and follow the seasonal changes. The viewer can appreciate how observant Jo is as she details a variety of recognisable plants. It is a joy to look deeply into these paintings to see a loved flower under a canopy of sometimes large or more dominant leaves. In contrast, her many Ocean Grove views of those ‘resilient’ and ‘windswept’ trees are dramatically silhouetted against blue skies or just worked in black. There are further ocean views and expanses of land in her ‘River flats’ series where the rugged ground is cleverly interpreted in her sketchy style.
I loved to see Jo’s more recent works, but was delighted to see her earlier works too.
Many of her paintings are completed en plein air and framed dramatically in black to enhance the works. She uses gouache, oil and pens on linen or board.
Truly an awe-inspiring and astonishing collection not to be missed.
Facebook: ‘Jo Reitze’ and ‘Jo Reitze paints your garden’
Exhibitiion:’ Jo Reitze – Celebrating life’ until 13 July, Victorian Artist Society upper galleries 430 Albert See. East Melbourne.
Open every day. 96621484. www.vasgallery.org.au