and Bohun has commissioned pieces from a number of gallery artists also – David Mach, Louis Turpin and Victoria Crowe among them. The technique lives! While there has been an explosion of interest in post-war and contemporary Chinese art, the same really cannot be said about Japanese art. All of which makes this inaugural show at Gregg Baker Asian Art , entitled 'Infinite Space: the New Japan', featuring the work of some seven prominent Japanese avant garde artists of the immediate post-war period, so particularly interesting. It was, for obvious reasons, a difficult time as Japan, emerging out of the trauma of defeat had to modernise and re-invent itself, artists no less than anyone else, as they explored new visual forms while holding on to the threads of their ancient cultural heritage. Common to all the artists in this superb show is a sense of intense mystical experience, one in which a profound response to Nature is interfused with an underlying aesthetic that evolves out of Buddhism and its philosophy. Nicholas Usherwood and, in the process opening the door to Nolan, Boyd et al, and to modern art in Australia. Collage – the art of applying 'found', and often very disparate, two dimensional materials and images in new compositional roles – is perhaps one of 20th century Modernism's defining technical innovations, the almost inevitable offspring of Picasso and Braque's Cubist experiments, the Dada and Surrealist love of chance juxtapositions, Matisse's great abstract compositions and, of course, Pop Art. Essentially it represents a 20th century contemporary artist's chance to play and to dream, and there are precious few who have not at some time taken the opportunities it provides; all of which makes Bohun Gallery's first show dedicated to the medium, 'Paper Arabesque' (a John Piper term), such a delightful and somehow seasonally apt lucky dip – a kind of Christmas stocking of unexpected visual surprises. John Piper, a devotee and master of the technique, is inevitably here along with a number of other 20th century British devotees of the medium – Mary Fedden, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Bryan Ingham and Joe Tilson among them. But it is of course, still a very vital technique for contemporary 21st century artists Because of its quite astonishing intensity of light and the consequent flattening of aerial perspectives, the Australian landscape has always posed immense difficulties for a European 'eye' brought up on densities of colour and space. Since Cook first made landfall off Botany Bay, artists had largely tried to ignore this problem, painting it as Europe, albeit an exotic version with kangaroos and Aborigines. It needed something as daring and experimental as Impressionism for Australian artists to first unlock its particularities successfully and a new exhibition at the National Gallery , entitled 'Australian Impressionism', remarkably the first in the UK, looks at how four figures – Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, John Russell and Charles Conder – invented a 'modern art' for Australia. Key to the group was Tom Roberts, the only one to study art in Europe and experience Impressionism at first hand (in Spain) in the mid-1880s. When he went back in 1885 he set up 'artists' camps' in the bush outside Melbourne, exploring the principles of plein air painting. It was to these camps that Streeton and Conder found their way shortly after, with Streeton's famous 'blue and gold' bush scenes in particular quickly becoming icons of Australian art DECEMBER 2016 GALLERIES 11 from left C harles Conder ‘A Holiday at Mentone’ (detail) © Art Gallery of South Australia Adelaide at National Gallery London Suda Kokuta ‘Symbol of Infinite Space’ Gregg Baker Asian Art Lennox Dunbar ‘Floral Blanket’ Bohun Gallery L ight touch Snip snip Making space R OUND-UP