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Robert Smith

(b Melbourne, Oct 4, 1913; d Melbourne, July 5, 1986).

Australian painter, printmaker, draughtsman, sculptor, cartoonist and illustrator. Largely self-taught, he began printmaking in 1931 and worked as a caricaturist, cartoonist and illustrator for the weekly and left-wing press, his outlook influenced by experience on the dole and political struggle during the Depression. In 1941 he began oil painting, his first pictures being mainly a celebration of Australian working-class tenacity during the 1930s: for example At the Start of the March (1944; Sydney, A.G. NSW). A founder-member of the Contemporary Art Society in 1938, he initiated its 1942 anti-Fascist exhibition and helped organize an Artists’ Unity Congress, receiving awards for his paintings of miners in the ensuing Australia at War exhibition in 1945. From 1939 to 1940 he was in New Zealand and from 1949 to 1952 in Europe, mostly London. Later he made frequent trips to Britain and France, as well as visiting the USSR and Mexico.

Counihan’s imaginative and creative versatility enabled him to produce extended pictorial metaphors for inherent contemporary crises, embodying potent artistic responses to specific conditions of oppression and discrimination, the nuclear threat and attendant social alienation. From the late 1960s he created images in numerous interrelated series challenging Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, for example ...

Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Melbourne, May 9, 1958).

Australian sculptor. He spent 20 years in Australian and British television and advertising, where he was already making the mannequins that he later adapted to sculptural purposes. He started his artistic career when collaborating with his mother-in-law, Paula Rego for the Spellbound exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1996, for which he made a Pinocchio figure. Introduced by Rego to Charles Saatchi, who immediately began to collect his work, Mueck took part in the exhibition Sensation at the Royal Academy in 1997 with mixed media sculpture Dead Dad (1996–7; London, Saatchi Gal.), an unsettling illusionistic rendition of his own deceased father, half life-size. Made from memory, the sculpture became as much the focus for a strong emotional involvement as it was a mere object treated with Mueck’s rigorous eye for detail. As the artist explained, the miniaturized representation proved a more emotionally involving depiction of death (an initial study was done in full scale) by compelling the beholder to ‘cradle’ the corpse visually. His concern with illusionistic verisimilitude has been linked to the uncompromising Northern tradition of portraiture exemplified by Jan van Eyck or Hans Holbein (ii). Mueck sculpts in clay, makes a plaster mould around it and finally replaces the clay with a mixture of fibreglass, silicone and resin; the technical skill involved, though taken for granted by the artist himself, has often been foregrounded by critics to the detriment of its content. Such psychological density was evident in ...

Article

Australian, 20th century, female.

Born 9 June 1945, in Adelaide.

Painter, sculptor, printmaker. Scenes with figures.

Ann Newmarch uses a heliographic system to create images inspired by postcards of the 1920s.

2007, WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, Geffen Contemporary at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (travelling exhibition)...

Article

Robert Smith

(Leslie)

(b Melbourne, Nov 23, 1929).

Australian cartoonist, printmaker, writer, illustrator, film maker and sculptor. After employment as an illustrator in Melbourne (1949–52), he worked in London as a freelance illustrator and cartoonist (1954–60). On the return journey to Australia he formed a lasting interest in South-east Asia, publishing the resulting perceptive and deceptively simple drawings with commentary in the first of his many illustrated books. He worked as a freelance artist in Melbourne until his appointment as resident cartoonist for the Sydney Daily Mirror in 1963 and the newly established national daily, The Australian, from 1964 to 1973. He quickly achieved popularity and repute, especially for his penetrating visual comments on involvement by Australia and the USA in the Vietnam War. He had little formal training in art and developed for himself a free-ranging personal style, which was widely emulated.

From 1970 Petty made or scripted numerous films, often combining actuality with animation and incorporating his own caricatural kinetic sculptures. After some earlier pioneering sculptural works, he created the first of what he called his ‘machine sculptures’, the ...