How great to have Newcastle Art Gallery's doors open again, so we can see something beyond the works on our home walls. How good that the large survey exhibition of works by Tom Gleghorn (Homeward Bound) will be on view for another month, until July 19. He is a painter with long-standing links to Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, although he moved to Sydney in 1955 and has lived in Adelaide since the late 1960s. There are several key works in the Newcastle Art Gallery collection, mostly donated, and it was here that his first solo exhibition took place in 1959. He was a regular at the legendary von Bertouch Galleries well into the 1980s, introducing Newcastle patrons to the energies of Abstract Expressionism. For 20 years, from 1963 to 1983, despite having no formal art training, Gleghorn was first a popular and successful teacher at Newcastle Technical College, then at the National Art School Sydney until 1968. After a term as Head Teacher at the art school in Canberra he had a long period teaching in Adelaide. He continues to paint, well into his 90s, though the scale of his work is now smaller. Black is still prominent, providing an ongoing gravitas, linking work over 60 years with its suggestion of elemental forces and a taste for dramatic tension. In a panel of small works painted in recent years, calligraphic black elements suggest Asian axioms rather than Western stresses. The exhibition initially focuses on his earliest works, including realistic studies of buildings and a prize-winning landscape. It would be interesting to know exactly when and why he started abstracting into linear elements the scenes of lake and harbour, still vestigially present in a painting, Coast Wind, formerly owned by Patrick White. It is easy to understand how the author of Voss would respond to Tom Gleghorn's images of an actively heightened landscape. A very different form of heightened landscape required a less energetic treatment. Gleghorn's innate lyricism has responded throughout his career to the ancient rocks and wide horizons of Australia's arid red centre. A major painting from 1986, a dramatic direct response to these landforms, is a recent gift to the gallery's collection. The immediacy of paint is a constant, as is, in his more abstract works, a restricted palette of black and white, with regular additions of blue and yellow, whether the subject is Warners Bay or a Mediterranean café. Gleghorn, as winner of an early Helena Rubenstein Travelling Scholarship, journeyed widely in Europe in the same years as John Olsen. Like Olsen, he was one of the first Australian artists to embrace linear abstraction, evidence of the new energy in the 1950s and '60s. Much of the exhibition is a sort of time-capsule reminder of the excitement and energy of Rock and Roll, of a new brutalism in suburban homes. This was an era of shagpile carpets and raw brick walls, of orange features and fondue parties. In many ways it seems as remote as the pyramids. Tom Gleghorn was the most popular and successful interpreter of that major cultural shift. Upstairs in the gallery is another significant exhibition, Repeater: From the collection, exploring the wealth of the collection in works that derive their impetus from repetition and pattern. This makes a splendid framework for giving equal weight to paintings by indigenous artists, but also to pieces from the gallery's vast holdings of ceramics. It balances purchases with key gifts to the collection by artists with the stature of Marion Borgelt and Rosalie Gascoigne. (It is a real pleasure to see again her wooden block mosaic strangely titled Wild Strawberries'. Barry Gazzard's zigzags are still a knockout. There are also distinguished pieces by artists from the local area. Women artists are particularly well represented, with Leslie Tilley's stick relief, Nicole Hensel's delicate drawing of ever-expanding dodder and Joy Longworth's elegantly minimal construction of found materials all special pleasures. This also provides an ideal opportunity to give context to new works entering the collection, such as Robert Jack's pavement of red squares and an enormous Emily Kngwarreye. We need more exhibitions like this. At the present moment of new freedoms these varied works, some rarely seen, are a huge source of stimulation and delight.