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6 July – 13 October 2024

Bundanon presents Wilder Times, featuring Arthur Boyd’s 1984 commission for the Arts Centre Melbourne, in conversation with works by environmentally-engaged Australian artists from the same period.


Arthur Boyd & John Truscott

At the centre of this exhibition sits Boyd’s suite of 14 large-scale paintings that document the Shoalhaven River for a 24-hour period, from dawn to midnight.

Initially commissioned by renowned stage designer John Truscott for the theatre interiors and foyers of the State Theatre in the Arts Centre Melbourne, these commissions were integral to Truscott’s conception of the theatres as a ‘secular cathedral to the arts’, a mission that continues to be shared by both Bundanon and the Arts Centre.

This will be the first time that these panoramic works have left the Arts Centre, returning to their place of origin. Created whilst looking across the Shoalhaven River to the far bank and Pulpit Rock, Boyd captures the subtle shifts of colour and light at various times of the day, anchored by the central waterline of the river. The paintings represent the artist’s deep commitment to honouring and caring for the natural world, and specifically to preserving Bundanon as a place to be shared with all Australians.



This historic painting commission will inform an accompanying survey of works by other artists at that time, revealing Australia’s changing relationships to landscape and the natural environment.

The mid-80s were a turning point for numerous artists, many of whom were engaging in environmental activism. This period also marks the beginning of a substantial national engagement with contemporary First Nations painting from around the continent, thereby challenging prevailing ideas of Australia’s identity and history.

Bringing together loans from artists and institutions, this survey will present Boyd’s broader context as he engaged – in both his life and his work – with ideas of landscape, ownership and conservation.


Bundanon acknowledges the people of the Dharawal and Dhurga language groups as the traditional owners of the land within our boundaries, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.

In Dharawal the word Bundanon means deep valley.

This website contains names, images and voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.