Facts, myths, memories and visual interpretations by Sydney Nolan have all informed his views of Kelly. In effect a huge tangled web of all these influences has caused Ray and a new generation of post-Nolan artists to reinterpret the complexity of our responses to Kelly.
Nolan, who created the most iconic image of Kelly – the black slitted mask – has been appropriated by Ray and reworked in new images of Kelly with peripheral events that may be either fact or myth. Ray originally trained as a ceramic artist and his painted and glazed pottery covered with Kelly images is particularly fine and worth a close inspection.
People interested in the Kelly legend attended the opening of this exhibition at the Gallery on 25 February at 3 – 5pm. John McQuilton, one of the most respected historians of the Kelly legend spoke at the opening and answered Kelly questions. His book, The Kelly Outbreak 1878 – 1880: The Geographical Dimension of Social Banditry, 1987 is well known amongst Kelly enthusiasts. Earlier in the afternoon McQuilton gave a talk about the early colonial works in the collection – a noteworthy event.