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Michael Shannon: Rocks Near Pyalong

The Artist

According to the Charles Nodrum Art Gallery website, Michael Shannon was born near Kapunda, South Australia, in 1927 and after schooling in Adelaide, enrolled at the National Gallery School in Melbourne in 1945 (under William Dargie) – also studying part time with George Bell. Overseas travel took him to London, Paris (studies under Leger) and Florence.

Apart from a spell in Sydney (1960-62) Shannon lived and worked in Melbourne for the rest of his life, exhibiting regularly in Sydney and Melbourne as well as in Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. His characteristic vision of the city – usually a roof top or birds eye view of streets, houses and factories earned him a wide following.

The late 1970s saw a change in focus. In 1980 he bought a small house near Heathcote (north of Melbourne). His interest in landscape had grown following a visit to David Chapman in Tasmania in 1974 (he exhibited small studies at Macquarie in 1979) and in the 1980s the landscape became the central concern of his work. It is a landscape he clearly fell in love with – from the rock faces of the quarry paintings through the more intimate glimpses of hill sides with trees and bush tracks, to the large canvasses of spacious hills stretching to distant horizons.

A long battle with Parkinson’s disease preceded the artist’s death in 1993.

Michael Shannon's Rocks Near Pyalong

The Work of Art

Rocks Near Pyalong was painted in 1983 using oils on canvas. Rocks Near Pyalong is very much like  many other of Michael's works.  Michael uses colours  in a manner that captures  the play of light and shadow. Large rocks such as the subject matter are great subject material for chiarascuro.  Many of Michael's other works are full of light-which makes them so popular.

Michael Shannon The Hazards

The monoliths near Pyalong are located almost directly north of Melbourne, Victoria.

Rocks near Pyalong

Michael is also known for his figurative works.  Here, MIchael uses broad blocks of colour in almost a  pop-art style.  Self portrait held in the National Portrait Gallery  shows Michael's extensive reportoire. This coloured pastel drawing is vivid and realistic.

Michael Shannon self portrait