Mar 1, 2016

Australian Beach Pattern (1940)

Last week we received a cryptic email with the image of a painting entitled 'Australian Beach Pattern.'

The emailer didn't identify him or herself, and I didn't know what exactly to make of the work...other than there was a boy on a surf mat which made it relevant to our pages here at Surfmatters.

Over the next few days I looked at the painting several times, and it grew more and more powerful. Not being an art aficionado, I asked the emailer for some background information, and learned it was created by Charles Meere in 1940.

After further research, I discovered that Charles Meere was a British ex-pat artist of some note, and the image was thought to project a number of messages. Among them, a celebration of beach culture, a glorification of heroic racial purity, or a reflection of Australia's unpreparedness for the war.

Pretty heady stuff for a painting of a kid on a surf mat!

But seriously, detailed notes on Meere can be found here.

Another twist on this tale relates to another artist named Freda Robertshaw. She was Meere's student and partner, and created a feminized counter-point image to Australian Beach Pattern, called Australian Beach Scene (1940).

How long before we stumble across a Mark Twain essay on mat surfing?

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