Yvonne Audette (born 1930) is a leading Australian abstract artist. She lived for many years in Europe and America, where she developed her interest in abstract expressionism, working and living among some of the seminal artists of the 20th century. Audette's profile was raised by a major exhibition in 1999 in Queensland and the publication of a book about her life and works. The National Portrait Gallery has quoted a description of her as "Australia's greatest living abstract painter".
Sydney Ball is widely considered a pioneer in Australian Abstraction, and his long and impressive career has had a formidable impact on Australian art. All of Ball’s works share the prerogative to investigate the possibilities of colour and form; from the lyrical abstraction that defines his stain paintings to the architectonic coloured forms of his famed modular works. Ball died aged 83, and has had significant relevance as a contemporary Australian artist.
Asher Bilu (born 1936) is an Australian artist who creates paintings, sculptures and installations. He has also contributed to several films by Director Paul Cox as production designer. He was born in Israel, and began his career as an artist soon after arriving in Australia in 1956. From the start, his art has been abstract, with particular emphasis on technological experimentation. His technique changes as he investigates the use of new media, but his work always reflects his fascination with light, and his love of music and science, especially cosmology.
Nancy Wilmot Borlase (24 March 1914 – 11 September 2006) was a New Zealand-born Australian artist, well known for her landscape-based abstract paintings and portraits, and as an art critic and commentator. Her work is displayed in the National Gallery of Australia and other major galleries. Borlase started as a figurative painter before moving to abstract impressionism. Her work was influenced by a study tour to New York in 1956, where she encountered Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko.
Born in Berlin, Christmann immigrated to Australia in 1959 where he began making abstract and figurative paintings since the early 1960s. He has been labelled as one of the major Australian artists of his generation. Christmann rose to prominence with his inclusion in the landmark exhibition The Field at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1968. From his hard-edged colourfield paintings of the 1960s he went on to produce the "sprinkle" paintings of the 1970s. Throughout his different phases Christmann has maintained a fascination with the world around him, feeding off contemporary life.
Richard Crichton (born 1935) is a practicing artist who resides in Melbourne, Victoria. At around 14 years of age he met artist Arthur Boyd, who encouraged his determination to paint, giving him a paint grinder and teaching him how to use it. Crichton formed early friendships with well-known established artists including John Perceval and Sidney Nolan and Albert Tucker. Crichton's painting of 'Albert Tucker Reminiscing' was hung in the Archibald Prize of 1982.
For over forty years Lesley Dumbrell has been refining her technique of geometric abstract painting, injecting colour, light and emotion into an often precise painting style associated with the Colour Field Painters of the 1960s. Working in this traditionally male-dominated painting genre, Dumbrell is recognised as a pioneer of the Australian women’s art movement of the 1970s. Dumbrell’s unique abstract imagery employs a dazzling array of colour, creating optical effects that allude to natural forces – wind, fire, rain and earth.
Firth Smith, John
John Firth Smith is a Sydney abstract painter. Through the sixties, seventies and eighties he taught at various schools and institutions while exhibiting regularly and winning awards every two or three years. In 1981 he completed the enormous commissioned project of 32 panels for the reception area of the ANZ Bank in Collins Place, Melbourne. Firth-Smith has travelled very widely and has lived and worked overseas for several periods. Still a successful artist, Firth-Smith is represented in most major Australian public galleries.
Thomas Gleghorn was born in 1925, in Thornley, England. Today, Gleghorn is one of Australia’s leading artists. A figurative and abstract painter, drawer, and printmaker, Gleghorn won over 30 major awards between 1957 and 1973 and held around 34 solo exhibitions from 1959 to 1992. For almost 50 years, Gleghorn has consistently won a multitude of art prizes; his works are represented across Australia, from regional and state galleries, to the National Gallery of Australia. Gleghorn was honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the arts as a painter and teacher.
Brent Harris is one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. A prolific painter and printmaker, he is well known for haunting imagery that drifts between abstraction and figuration. Charged with a quiet emotional intensity, his paintings, prints and drawings are often motivated by an exploration of personal memories and the expression of psychological states. Sometimes humorous and often disturbing, they address a range of universal concerns relating to human experience: life, death, fear, doubt, spirituality and sexuality.
Robert Jacks is an Australian painter, sculptor and printmaker, born in Melbourne. In 1966 he had his first solo exhibition at Gallery A, Melbourne from which a work was purchased for the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. He has exhibited consistently in Australia since 1966 in more than 50 solo exhibitions, winning many art awards and prizes. In 2006, he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). His mature work, while emerging out of the international abstract 'Color Field' movement of the late '60s, retains an ambiguous link to the representation of appearances, especially of objects in space.
Richard Larter (1929 –2014) was an Australian painter, born in London and often identified as one of Australia's few highly recognisable pop artists. Larter also frequently painted in a pointillist style. He encountered and was influenced by the new generation of young British Pop artists of the 1950s and early 1960s. Over the 1960s he produced an important body of work exploring social and political themes, often incorporating brightly coloured painted heads of celebrities in challenging juxtaposition. Seemingly distinct from these works are geometric, ethereal and glittery abstract paintings.
After a successful career as a musician playing in Melbourne in two of Paul Kelly’s early bands, John returned to his love of art, which he studied in Tasmania in his late teens. During the past fourteen years as a professional artist, John has had 17 solo exhibitions in galleries in Melbourne, Sydney and South East Queensland. His work has also been shown in 30+ shared exhibitions and can now be found in collections throughout the world. His work is best described as abstract landscape with a specific interest in colour and mood.
Derek O’Connor was born in England in 1959 and migrated to Australia in 1969. After living in Adelaide, he moved to Canberra to study painting at the National School of Art. Since then, O’Connor developed a strong reputation for his abstract paintings, which have been collected by many important public galleries including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery. In spite of his reputation as an abstract painter, O’Connor’s work has at times engaged photographic and photolithographic elements, in ways that often confuse distinctions between abstraction and figuration.
Born in 1942, Powditch is one of the unsung heroes of Australian Pop Art. He rose to prominence with imagery depicting Australian beach culture populated by his many bikini-clad figures. His exploration of the feminine form sparked feminist backlash, perceiving his art as chauvinistic. Powditch turned towards abstract painting in the 1970s, in part to counter this perception. He won the Sir John Sulman Prize in 1972. Powditch currently lives and works in Bangalow, NSW. He continues to stage regular solo-exhibitions in Sydney.
Stanislav Ivan Rapotec (4 October 1913 – 18 November 1997) was a Slovenian artist. He arrived in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1948. Rapotec was a leading exponent of abstract expressionism, which he adopted with resounding conviction after moving to Sydney. In the early 1960s he was seen as one of Australia’s most radical painters. In 1989, he received the prestigious honour of becoming a Member of the Order of Australia for Service to the Arts. His work is represented in several Australian public collections including the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and the Heide Museum of Modern Art.
Born in Sydney in 1905, James Sharp was a banker who left his job in his mid-forties to become a painter and printmaker. Sharp studied at the Desiderius Orban School in Sydney and later taught painting at Newington College. He first exhibited his work in 1951, and became a foundation member of Sydney Printmakers in 1961. Sharp's work was included in the sixth Bienale de Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1961. His work is represented in University of New South Wales collections. Sharp died in 1985
Ann Thomson is a Brisbane born, Sydney based painter and sculptor known for her vibrant, expressive compositions. Often described as abstract, the artist rejects this label as her works are drawn from visual memories of places and things; ''I might abstract something but I don't just paint shapes.'' Since graduating from the National Art School in 1962 she has balanced art teaching with countless solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia and overseas.
John Anthony Tuckson (1921-1973), artist and art-gallery administrator, was born on 18 January 1921 at Port Said, Egypt. Until 1958 he had been a 'School of Paris' painter of figure compositions, nudes, heads, and occasional still lifes and interiors. Tuckson's late abstract paintings were a kind of self-portraiture, emphasizing an inner, subjective world. He was promptly recognized as probably Australia's best Abstract Expressionist.
Peter Upward has been described as one of Australia’s purest and most underrated abstractionists, producing a deeply philosophic Australian style of expressionism. Born in Melbourne in 1932, his early paintings remained landscape-based until he made a permanent move to Sydney in 1960. There, while studying calligraphy and Zen Buddhism and inspired by jazz improvisation, Upward created his strongest and best known works – his large-scale black and white gestural paintings. Upward died suddenly of a heart attack aged 51.
Dick Watkins was born in 1937 in Sydney, Australia. As an artist, Dick Watkins is largely self-taught, although between 1955 and 1958 he occasionally attended the Julian Ashton Art School and East Sydney Technical College in Sydney. In 1968 Watkins was a key participant in the National Gallery of Victoria’s landmark exhibition, The Field, the first major survey exhibition of colour field painting and geometric abstraction in Australia. Watkins is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, and the National Gallery of Victoria.
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