Bonhams and Goodman, Bay East Art, Sydney, 21 September 2008;
Private collection, Sydney
Sydney Ball, Greenhill Gallery, Adelaide, 1974.
The Stain Paintings 1971-80, Sydney Ball, Sullivan + Strumpf, 22 October – 16 November 2013
Referring to his Stain series Ball stated:
“I see it as a continuation of the early Cantos. I’ve never deviated from the original intentions of the early Cantos to what I’m doing now. For me, the whole problem of a painting is the importance of colour. Style for me is quite secondary. I think you can break across styles… like Hans Hofmann or Matisse or even Picasso. You can go through a number of ways of getting to that final painting; through the way in which you put on the paint, the physicality of putting it on, the process, the surface that’s attained. Its all of these things”.
Sydney Ball, Ten Australians, ten-part ABC documentary series, Sydney, 1975, produced and directed by Stafford Garner and Dale McCrae, with the support of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council.
Sydney Ball: The Colour Paintings 1963 – 2007, Penrith Regional Gallery and the Lewers Bequest, 8 November 2008 – 25 January 2009; a touring exhibition to McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, 22 February – 26 April 2009; Samstag Museum, South Australia, 11 November 2009 – 19 January 2010
Pentarus, 2007 captures the artists growing interest in architecture and nature, which he explored during his Structure series from 2005-2010. The perfectly conceived and positioned central geometric form references the artists earlier groundbreaking works from the mid-1960s. Throughout his celebrated career Sydney Ball kept moving forward in his explorations of colour and form and their combined effects upon visual perception.
Private collection, Peru;
Sotheby’s, Important Australian Art, Sydney, 09/04/2019, Lot No. 79;
Private collection, Australia
Reflections by Charles Blackman, The Johnstone Gallery, Brisbane, 14-31
August 1966, no. 5
The Road, a dreamlike and lyrical painting by Charles Blackman was created in 1966 upon the artist’s return to Australia from London. During his time in Europe, Blackman had mingled and worked with other expatriate Australian artists including Arthur Boyd, Brett Whiteley and Fred Williams.
The 1960s saw the rise of abstract expressionism and with it, a vehement rejection by its major exponents of more figurative artistic practices. This in turn was a major factor in the formation of the Antipodean group, founded by academic and historian Bernard Smith. This movement reacted against the perceived emergence of a “fanatical devotion to the principles of abstract art and a rising intolerance of figurative painting,”1 that had taken hold of Sydney’s art scene. Their manifesto asserted their right to draw inspiration from life, nature and their surroundings, central to which was the importance of recognisable imagery, stressing too the importance of artistic diversity.
Like many of Blackman’s paintings, The Road is notable for its balance of simplicity and richness inviting reflection and contemplation.
1. Bernard Smith, Australian Painting 1788 – 1970, Melbourne, Oxford
University Press, 1971, p. 326
The Robert Holmes à Court Collection, Western Australia;
Sotheby’s, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 30 June 1997, lot 49;
Private Collection, United States of America
In 1989 Emily Kame Kngwarreye produced her first paintings on canvas. At the time she was represented by the highly respected agent, Rodney Gooch at the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA). Rodney was one of the few agents to have worked with Emily throughout most of her career, and Anne Marie Brody acknowledges him as the source of Emily’s move to first paint on canvas with Emu Woman, 1988-89. In describing how unique and significant the artist’s oeuvre was, Anne Marie Brody states: “Photographs showing what other artists were producing, especially in 1989, the first year Utopia artists painted on canvas, are an instant reminder of just how much Emily Kame Kngwarreye stood out not only amongst her own Utopia crowd but right across the Western Desert.” 1 Artworks such as Awelye (meaning “my dreaming”) were among the first paintings on canvas to be produced by Emily.
This seminal body of work set the foundation for her highly celebrated oeuvre in the years to follow. Awelye is a beautiful early reflection of Emily’s aesthetic where fluid configurations of dots and lines, representing seeds and growing yams, are rhythmically mapped across the canvas.
1. Anne Marie Brody, ‘Reflections on the Rodney Gooch Files,’ Indigenous Archives: The making and Unmaking of Aboriginal Art, edited by Darren Jorgensen and Ian McLean, UWP Publishing, 2017, p.46
Wynne Prize Finalist Award, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2001
Ildiko Kovacs’ magnificent painting entitled Escarpment was a finalist in the Wynne Prize in 2001. This fine example of her early work reveals a strong sculptural presence and vibrates with rich energy and passion. Ildiko’s work demonstrates a masterful grasp of paint’s materiality, with a bold and direct application of line and colour. She has a dazzling ability to sculpt line as if it were a three-dimensional form rendered flat. A number of these earlier and pivotal works open a dialogue between western traditions of abstraction and indigenous art.
Works by Ildiko Kovacs are held in National Gallery of Australia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Art Gallery of New South Wales; Newcastle Regional Art Gallery; Allen Arthur Robinson Collection; Artbank; Bathurst Regional Art Gallery; Campbelltown City Arts Centre; Gold Coast City Art Gallery; Hamilton Art Gallery, Victoria; Macquarie Bank; Maitland Regional Art Gallery; National Gallery of Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; Riddoch Art Institute; World Bank, Washington DC, USA; Visy Corp, Melbourne; Various private collections
Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Los Angeles, US, 25-28 January, 2018
Berlin-based Canadian artist Beth Letain engages with the history of colour and abstraction. While her works feel minimalist compositionally, they are vivid with strong colour painted on white canvas. Letain’s geometric structures are harmonious and rhythmic, referencing Agnes Martin, Mary Heilmann and the Bauhaus theories of colour. This work is of magnificent scale with lashings of oil and rich pigment, so characteristic of the artist’s style. Her works are simple and enduring.
Allen D. Christensen Collection, California (label attached verso);
On loan to the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (label attached verso);
Deutscher Fine Art, Melbourne;
Company collection, Adelaide;
Deutscher-Menzies, Australian and International Paintings, Sydney, 5 March
2002, Lot 50;
Private collection, Sydney
The Land Beyond Time; paintings and drawings by John Olsen, Art Gallery of Western Australia, May 1984, cat. 97/98; touring exhibition to Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 21 November 1984-6 January 1985; Newcastle Region Art Gallery, 8-29 September 1985; Wollongong City Gallery, 1 November-8 December 1985; Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, 3 January-9 March 1986; Tamworth City Gallery, April-May 1986; Orange Regional Gallery, 1 June-7 July 1986; Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, July-September 1986; Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery, October 1986; Westpac Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne, November 1986; Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, December, 1986; Shepparton Art Gallery, December-January 1987; Nolan Gallery, Lanyon, February -31 March 1989; Centre Gallery, Gold Coast, 17 June-13 August 1989; Manly Art Gallery, 7 September-15 October 1989; North Adelaide School of Arts, March 1990..
The beauty of the Kimberley landscape has had an enduring influence on John Olsen’s work since his first visit to the region in 1982.
Olsen described his engagement with the Kimberley as having ‘an impact which makes one strive for familiar points of reference: to compare the complex of channels through the Wyndham salt flats to the gigantic nervous system, or the strange rock formations of the Bungle Bungle to abandoned Buddhist temples. It is as though the observer is forced to seek a key to their messages, but there really is no point in making such comparisons because the North-West remains unique: a territory with a fearful fascination and an unforgettable charisma which have no relationship to any other human experience.’1
1. Preface in Olsen, J., The Land Beyond Time, The Macmillan Company of
Australia, Melbourne, 1984
Collection of the artist;
Private collection, Queensland
A magical feeling for the spirit of place combines with a grand vision of the ocean and adjacent landscape in this large scale, light-filled work. Here the artist, as expressed in his own words, invites the viewer ‘…to live in the vision itself.’ The Robinsons purchased a retreat near Byron Bay in 2005 and the paintings from this area are both rare and among the artist’s finest.
The beautifully detailed foreground foliage in the present picture demonstrates aptly William Robinson’s exceptional skills as a colourist, and in the rendering of the ocean his ability to capture extraordinary effects with clarity of light.
Of his solo exhibition at the Ray Hughes Gallery in 1994, critic John MacDonald stated ’Robinson is the only non-Aboriginal artist since Fred Williams and John Olsen to give… an entirely new view on the Australian landscape’.
William Robinson is represented widely in public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia; Australian university collections; Parliament House, Canberra; many Australian regional galleries; Artbank; Museum of Brisbane and State Library Queensland; all Australian mainland state collections; and internationally in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Vatican Museum, Vatican City; the Auckland Art Gallery and Waikato Art Museum, Hamilton in New Zealand.
The Estate of Ray Hughes;
Shapiro Auctioneers, Ray Hughes: A Life with Art – Session I, Sydney, 14 May 2018;
Private collection, Sydney
William Robinson moved in 1970 to a farm in Birkdale, a country area on the outskirts of Brisbane and the ever popular works from this period are among the artist’s most whimsical and original.
“We bought this eight acres at Birkdale in the Redlands district and expanded the house. We didn’t accumulate the animals immediately. I tried growing nut trees but I was a disastrous farmer. I was going to work in the city at the same time (as an art teacher). Gradually we accumulated a few animals and by 1976, after I’d gone to teach in Toowoomba for six months, we came back and started to collect animals with a vengeance; more and more livestock – dogs, chooks, cows and goats. Shirley was even running a little sort of dairy.
In 1980 I had this show of cows. When I’d done them I realised I’d gone up a pathway… I had gone up other pathways that were all wrong because they were other artist’s pathways… with the cows for the first time I’d created something. I felt a sense of amazement that I’d gone out on a limb and created something I couldn’t relate to anybody else’s work before. Only to old Victorian photos in oval frames. So I had this rather silly show of cows, leaving all the other things behind and taking a journey into the unknown.”
Deborah Hart, William Robinson: The Transfigured Landscape, Piper Press, Sydney, 2011, p. 25
Estate of the artist;
Philip Bacon Galleries, 2000;
Fred Williams, Philip Bacon Galleries, Queensland, 2000, illustrated in the
During 1969-1970 Fred Williams had three major shows: a 1969 exhibition of new paintings that included ‘the strikingly innovative works’ of that year at Rudy Komon Gallery in Sydney; a further exhibition of selected paintings at Skinner Galleries, Perth, 1970 and perhaps most importantly the artist’s first museum exhibition, Heroic Landscape at the National Gallery of Victoria, 1970.1 This was the first time a major Fred Williams survey had been held in a state gallery and his paintings were exhibited alongside those of the eminent impressionist, Arthur Streeton.
Sapling Diptych was featured in an exhibition of works from the estate of Fred Williams at Philip Bacon Galeries in 2000.
1. Patrick McCaughey, Fred Williams, Bay Books, Sydney, 1980, p. 210
This work was produced during a six month residency at the Bondi Pavilion Community Centre in 1989 and a number of works were acquired by the Art Gallery of New South Wales for the exhibition Twenty Australian Photographers at the National Gallery of Victoria, 1990 and a substantial number from this series were later included in a major exhibition The Beach at the Museum of Heide in 1994.
This series challenges some of the dominant representations of the beach through a series of photographic portraits taken against a painted backdrop of Bondi and explores the cultural stereotypes that usually define its visual history and parody these in an ironic and critical manner.