‘The Food of Art’ by Keith Stewart

Grahame Sydney is a spectacular painter, making works which contain within their puny frames whole hillsides of muscular geology and human experience. He squeezes great skies into impossible spaces, so that clouds can race to the ionosphere without concern for the painted edge; he builds sheds which take root in bristling paddocks and offer weathered wood deep beyond their rusted doors. His paintings never hesitate before an impassable mountain range or nor’wester sky; instead, Sydney reduces them to manageable size, and our own imaginations blow them up to full size again, or even bigger.

Quiet and apparently silent these landscapes may be, but their expansive power and intemperate spirit is obvious in Sydney’s paintings which distil their purely atavistic character into visions where humanity is not so much absent as totally insignificant. He presents us with a vision of the land that is both awe-inspiring and impervious to awe or any other human response to its spectacle… That Sydney is able to convey this often futile context is a remarkable achievement. That he can do so without moralising of diminishing the geographic splendour of his places is a wonder.