94 min • Culture • 2017 • M
Brett Whitely is an Australian cultural icon. Nearly a quarter century after his death, there has never been anyone like Whiteley in the history of Australian art. Whiteley is a visual journey into the life and legacy of one of Australia's most celebrated artists. The story, told in Brett's own voice, opens a rare window into an artist's mind. The film records Whiteley's life and artistic process and gives us an insight into Australia's cultural and artistic history. While his brief, dazzling life was erratic, combustible and tragic, Whiteley also created a highly productive and brilliant artistic vortex around which much of our 70's and 80's sense of self-worth as an aggressively creative nation emerged. In his personal life, he adored his wife, Wendy but would also have affairs. Many of his most successful paintings were odes to Wendy and were in no small part successful due to her uninhibited expressiveness before Brett's devouring gaze. Despite tabloid headlines, Whiteley's life as an artist was defined by a vigorous work ethic, an exhaustive commitment to study of the work of others, and a willingness to take risks in his own work.