The National Gallery of Victoria’s inaugural exhibition at its new premises on St Kilda Road in 1968 was The Field, the first comprehensive display of colour field painting and abstract sculpture in Australia. Regarded as a landmark exhibition in Australian art history, The Field was a radical presentation of 74 works by 40 artists who practised hard-edge, geometric, colour and flat abstraction, many of which were influenced by American stylistic tendencies of the time.
With its silver foil–covered walls and geometric light fittings, The Field opened to much controversy and helped launch the careers of a generation of Australian artists, including Sydney Ball, Peter Booth, Janet Dawson and Robert Jacks. Eighteen of the exhibiting artists were under the age of thirty, with Robert Hunter the youngest at twenty-one years of age.
The Field Revisited recreates this landmark exhibition for its fifty-year anniversary. By reassembling as many of the original 74 paintings and sculptures as possible, this restaging re-examines the exhibition’s impact and significance for Australian art history and allow a new generation to experience it for themselves. Because some works included in The Field are known to have been destroyed, the NGV has commissioned a number of artists, including Normana Wight and Col Jordan, to recreate their original works for The Field Revisited.