The practices of Brett Whiteley and Tom Roberts were dramatically different from one another. Tom Roberts' approach to art was essentially traditional, romantic and realistic whereas Brett Whiteley's practice was far more unpredictable, abstract and contemporary in comparison.
Whiteley's works expressed his talent for accentuation, employing an effective colour range and dealing with the often simple themes of distorted abstract nudes and typical shapes. His use of large canvases has proven to produce a powerful and compelling impact within the national and international art communities. Tom Roberts dedicated himself to painting the bush and used his art to typify the hardworking Australian lifestyle. He depicted an idealized view of everyday working life that many everyday Australians could identify with. He's now considered as the man responsible for capturing the essence of Australia through his art.
Whitelely traveled extensively during his lifetime and this had a profound influence on his practice.
He demonstrated a strong connection with the beach landscape and culture, particularly that of Australia. His landscape paintings were often abstract and curvaceous - representative of the female form which he adored and manipulated into the landscapes of many of his artworks. Artists such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh influenced the style of abstract painting Whiteley developed. By adopting this style he was able to freely express his love for beach culture and his home city using vivid and communicative colours as seen in his paintings Opera House 1982 and Balmoral 1978Tom Roberts' relationship to the landscape differed from Whiteley as his paintings were by no means abstract and were not expressed as sensually as Whiteley's. Rather he opted for a more realistic approach when depicting the Australian landscape. His tutors encouraged him to paint plein air which served to fuel his lifelong passion for the...