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Article

Wystan Curnow

[Bates, Barrie]

(b Auckland, Jan 1, 1935).

New Zealand sculptor and conceptual artist. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s and first showed his work alongside that of fellow students such as David Hockney and Derek Boshier, helping to mark the emergence of British Pop art. The pseudonym that he adopted in 1962 reflected his obsession with different ways of representing fruit. On moving in 1964 to New York he began to produce neon versions of popular icons. In 1970 he established Apple as one of New York’s first artist-run ‘alternative’ art spaces.

The conceptual element in Apple’s early Pop work became dominant in the late 1960s and 1970s. From 1975 to 1980 he concentrated on the deconstruction of the ‘white cube’ gallery exhibition space, proposing alterations to or actually changing existing interiors, notably at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York (1977, 1978, 1980) and at a number of public galleries in New Zealand (...

Article

Vanuatuan, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1965, in Vanuatu (Melanesia).

Painter, draughtsman, installation artist.

Neo-Conceptual Art.

Gilles Barbier graduated from the faculty of letters in Aix-en-Provence and from the Luminy art school in Marseilles. Illustrating expressions or words in their most literal form, declaiming Latin or foreign language proverbs to stuffed animals or transcribing the pages of a dictionary in pictures - the works of Gilles Barbier are a problematic examination of the role of language and thought in relation to art. His work hinges upon the principles of uncertainty and superimposition, allowing him infinite scope to play on all the products of imagination, using scientific and medical terminology (viruses, parasites, clones, trans-schizophrenia) as a means to introduce points of reference into a universe which is constantly undergoing deconstruction. He also lifts objects from their original context and endows them with a disconcerting, strange character - for example, in the ...

Article

Bio Art  

Suzanne Anker

From Anatomical studies to landscape painting to the Biomorphism of Surrealism, the biological realm historically provided a significant resource for numerous artists. More recently, Bio Art became a term referring to intersecting domains that comprise advances in the biological sciences and their incorporation into the plastic arts. Of particular importance in works of Bio Art is to summon awareness of the ways in which the accelerating biomedical sciences alter social, ethical and cultural values in society.

Coming to the fore in the early 1990s Bio Art is neither media specific nor locally bounded. It is an international movement with practitioners in such regions as Europe, the US, Russia, Australia and the Americas. Several subgenres of Bio Art exist within this overarching term:

(i) Artists who employ the iconography of the 20th and 21st century sciences, including molecular and cellular genetics, transgenically altered living matter and reproductive technologies as well as the diverse fields of neuroscience. All traditional media such as painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and drawing are employed to convey novel ways of representing life forms. Images of chromosomes, the double helix, magnetic resonance imaging body scans and neuroanatomy comprise this iconography. The molecular underpinnings of the living world have also become visible through high technological instrumentation when artists incorporate such pictorialisations as part of their practice. Representations span both genotypic variations and phenotypic ones. Artists include Suzanne Anker (...

Article

Susan Best

(b Sydney, Aug 8, 1919; d Sydney, April 19, 2005).

Australian sculptor, video, installation artist, and sound artist. Brassil received her initial art training at Sydney Teachers College, East Sydney Technical College, and Newcastle Technical College (1937–9). She taught art for 20 years at Campbelltown High School before commencing her exhibiting career in the early 1970s.

Brassil’s first recorded work is Trilogy: Twentieth Century Perception (1969–74; Sydney, U. W. Sydney). Trilogy is composed of three components: Sound Beyond Hearing (900×900×150 mm), Light Beyond Seeing (900×600×150 mm) and Memory Beyond Recall (1050×1050×150 mm). Unlike Brassil’s later works, these three components can be wall mounted. They are beautiful, highly finished, shallow black boxes, and two out of the three are electronic. Memory Beyond Recall has glowing lights veiled behind layers of paper that appear and then dim down and disappear. Light Beyond Seeing has a central lit portion that uses mirrors to suggest an infinitely deep space. The main themes of Brassil’s career—perception, sound, memory, and the transcendental realm—are all signalled in this early work....

Article

New Zealander, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in England fromc.1970, in France from 1981.

Born 1935, in Port Chalmers.

Sculptor of assemblages.

Bill Culbert studied at the Royal College of Art in London which, at that time, was at the forefront of developments in experimental sculpture. From ...

Article

Edward Hanfling

[William] (Franklin)

(b Port Chalmers, Jan 23, 1935).

New Zealand photographer, sculptor, installation artist, and painter, active also in France and Great Britain. Culbert consistently explored the workings of both natural and artificial light in his works, as well as the transformation of found objects and materials. A student at Hutt Valley High School, his artistic ability was fostered by the radical art educator James Coe. From 1953 to 1956, Culbert studied at the Canterbury University College School of Art in Christchurch. Moving to London in 1957 to attend the Royal College of Art, he became interested in the photographic works of László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, while his paintings were informed by Cubism. In 1961 Culbert moved to Croagnes in Provence, France; he remained in France and the UK for the rest of his career.

During 1967–8, Culbert shifted his focus from the analysis of form and light in painting to the analysis of actual light, often arranging light bulbs in grid formations. In ...

Article

Traudi Allen

(b Trieste, 1947).

Australian painter of Italian birth. De Clario became an Australian resident in 1956. He began to win art awards from his early 20s: the Italia Prize for painting (1969), the Perth International drawing Prize (1971), the Corio Prize for Painting, Geelong Art Gallery (1973), the Minnie Crouch Drawing Prize (1973), the Mildura Non-Permanent Sculpture Prize (1975), the University of NSW acquisitive prize (1987), and the University of Queensland Museum, National Artists’ Self Portrait Award (2011).

The conceptual thrust of his work has been expressed in painting and drawing and in performances with atleast part installation settings. His early interest in psychologically driven autobiography gave way to deconstructions of religious iconography, from the Catholicism of his Italian background to Hinduism and Buddhism. Performances have often centred on the artist, blindfolded to stress his role as medium, playing all night piano improvisations that stand as a trope for the temporal, visual, aural, and emotional sensations of mindful attention. His painting is also psychologically and spiritually orientated and translates his interest in the phenomenology of life to layers of physical paint....

Article

Anne Kirker

(b Maryborough, Queensland, Feb 6, 1957).

Australian Aboriginal installation artist of the Kuku and Erub/Mer peoples (see fig.). Deacon became an artist after receiving formal university training in politics and spending 10 years as a teacher. Her first substantial debut as a self-taught artist was in 1991 at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in Sydney. By 1995 her staged photographs, installations and videos, which radically reappraise black feminine subjectivity, territorial rights and western canons of ‘high art’, earned her a place in the Johannesburg Biennale of that year and in Documenta 11 (2002). Effective through its pointed rawness and wit, Deacon’s work debunks the myths of ‘white fella’ histories of national identity and reclaims the kitsch of popular culture. Destiny Deacon: Walk & Don’t Look Blak, an exhibition held in 2004 at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), was her first solo museum exhibition.

Deacon’s imagery largely falls within the realm of social portraiture and satire, partly fictitious and partly autobiographical. Her characteristic use of dolls in her rudimentary photographic tableaux brings her troubling messages home through childhood toys. The dark-skinned dolls are often depicted as mutilated or are placed in simply constructed settings that present Aborigines as second-class citizens: impoverished or socially maligned. For instance, we are encouraged to imagine two trouser-clad males sitting in a gutter near a graffiti wall with a box of matches alongside ready for striking, or a woman hanging clothing on a line, in domestic servitude, or a female child (from the so-called ‘Stolen Generation’) captioned ...

Article

Australian, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active also active in France.

Born 1959, in Melbourne.

Painter, engraver, collage artist. Figure compositions, figures.

From 1970 to 1973, Rebecca Driffield studied at Swineburne College in Melbourne, graduating with a fine arts degree. In 1974, she studied engraving at Camden Art College in London. In ...

Article

Edward Hanfling

(b Hastings, March 21, 1930; d New Plymouth, Dec 8, 2011).

New Zealand sculptor, painter, printmaker, and installation artist. His art primarily involves assemblage, often with an eye to colour relationships; it also incorporates diverse sources including American modernism, African, and Asian art. Driver had little formal training and worked as a dental technician before he began sculpting with wood, clay, and dental plaster during the 1950s. Between 1960 and 1964 he produced assemblages and collages reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg, though Driver was not aware of the American’s work then (e.g. Large Brass). In the United States from March to August 1965, he developed an interest in Post-painterly Abstraction as well as in Jasper Johns’s works. References to New York are manifest in his mixed-media wall relief La Guardia 2 (1966; Auckland, A.G.). The Painted Reliefs (1970–74) with their horizontal panels and strips of varying width and depth, mostly painted but sometimes aluminium, indicate the impact of American abstraction, notably that of Kenneth Noland. ...

Article

John R. Neeson

(b Ballarat, Victoria, 1946).

Australian photographer, film maker, painter, and installation artist. Dunkley-Smith studied at Ballarat Teacher’s College (1964–5), Melbourne Teacher’s College (1966), Ballarat School of Mines and Industries (1967–71), and at Hornsey College of Art, London (1974–6). Since the late 1970s, Dunkley-Smith has made an enduring foundational contribution to analogue and digital, time-based, and venue-specific installation practice in Australia. Initially trained as a painter, Dunkley-Smith’s work with film and multiple slide projection installations date from the mid-1970s when he was living in London. His installations are characterized by duplicate and triplicate screens and sequences of images of time-based works that utilize procedural methods addressing the relation of pattern to indeterminacy, aspects of representation, and audience desire.

In 1982 Dunkley-Smith was awarded an Overseas Fellowship at the Institute of Art and Urban Resources PS1, New York. From 1987 all his works were styled Perspectives for Conscious Alterations in Everyday Life...

Article

Australian, 20th century, male.

Painter (mixed media).

Adelaide (AG of South Australia): Australian National Day - Invasion Day (1986)

Article

Australian, 20th century, male.

Born 10 October 1928, in Brunswick, near Melbourne.

Painter (mixed media), muralist, stained glass painter.

Leonard French studied signwriting at Melbourne Technical College from 1944 to 1947. He worked his way through London, Ireland, and Belgium between 1949 and 1951, studying as he went. In ...

Article

New Zealander, 20th century, female.

Born 1917, in Auckland, New Zealand; died 1999, in Canberra.

Installation artist.

1982, Venice Biennale

1990, Rosalie Gascoigne, Colin McCahon, Sense of Place, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, Sydney (also presented at the Ian Potter Gallery, Melbourne)

1997...

Article

(b Auckland, Jan 25, 1917; d Canberra, Oct 23, 1999).

Australian mixed-media artist of New Zealand birth. First exhibiting in 1974 at the age of 57, she had a rapid rise to acceptance, being included in a survey exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1978 and chosen as the first woman to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1982.

On marrying astronomer Ben Gascoigne in 1943, she lived at Mount Stromlo, near Canberra, moving to the Canberra suburb of Pearce in 1969. Drawing on her environment, both for visual stimulation and materials, she crafted an original three-dimensional approach to the Australian landscape that captured a place somewhere between the city and the red outback. With the use of old wooden crates bearing brand names such as Waratah Mustard, Tarax soft drink, and cardboard cut-outs of the Arnott’s biscuits Crimson Rosella logo, her work also held appeal for its oblique national nostalgia. She is best known for a minimal assembled art that depicts the pale, open landscape and the sharp clean air of the Canberra region that, from ...

Article

Patrick Hutchings

[Thomas] (Henry)

(b Salford, Lancs, May 10, 1928).

Australian mixed-media artist of English birth. Gibbons is, as a visual artist, largely self-taught, though he attended briefly the Royal College of Art Kingston-upon-Hull and the Cambridge College of Art and Technology. He arrived in Australia in 1955.

He has worked in a wide variety of media, often mixed, and believes ‘We live in a world constructed for us by images… I’ve always been interested in design, typography and printed ephemera’. The Vanitas series of hand-coloured Xerox collages (1981–8), splendidly re-uses such ephemera, joining them to scenes from Duccio’s Maestà very aptly indeed. Gibbons has called himself an image recycler and while he may recycle, he does so with serious wit, high irony and even spirituality. His Annunciation (1971; Perth, U. W. Australia, Lawrence Wilson A.G.) is at once eclectic, local and reverent. His Dancer No. 3 (1971; Perth, priv. col.) recycles an image of Fred Astaire as a ‘holy dancer’ in a trinity of spotlights; Laurel and Hardy are for Gibbons ‘holy clowns’ (e.g. ...

Article

Anthony Gardner

(b Singapore, July 12, 1959).

Malaysian conceptual artist, active also in Australia. Gill studied at the University of Western Sydney, completing her MA in 2001. Despite working in a range of media, she is best understood as a process-based artist who has consistently explored notions of migration and transformation within material culture. These include the effects of international trade on such everyday activities as cooking and eating. The spiral form of Forking Tongues (1992; Brisbane, Queensland A.G.), for example, entwines Western cutlery and dried chillies from the Americas and Asia, highlighting how foods and utensils from across the globe have come together to transform local cuisines and inform culinary habits. Gill’s later photographic series refer to other understandings of migration, such as the spread of the English language or of capitalist desire throughout South-east Asia in recent decades. For Forest (1998; Sydney, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery; see Chua), Gill cut out words and sentences from books written in English, placed the texts within tropical landscapes and photographed the results before the books’ paper began rotting into the humid environment. For ...

Article

David O’Halloran

(b Melbourne, 1952).

Australian collage artist and painter. Gower’s art explores the nexus between the temporal and the permanent. Gower trained at the Prahran College of Advanced Education, completing her studies in 1973. She met the artist Howard Arkley at art school and they married in 1973. Gower had a significant influence over the work of Arkley, including his important 1982 work Primitive. They separated in 1980. Gower had early success; her fragile collages of resin-coated, translucent, sewn paper works were championed by the Women’s Art Movement and by feminist critics such as Janine Burke. Despite early comparisons with the work of Eva Hesse, Frank Stella is a more appropriate early influence.

In 1983 Gower collaged shredded street billposters and magazine hoardings. The fragments of imagery in the shredded posters saw Gower move away from abstraction and towards a representational practice. This use of images consolidated when she moved to Hobart to teach at the Tasmanian School of Art in ...

Article

Australian, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1953, in Sydney.

Painter (mixed media).

Fiona Hall studied painting at the National Art School in Sydney from 1972 to 1975 and photography at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, from 1978 to 1982. From 1983 to ...

Article

Anne Kirker

(b Grafton, NSW, Nov 14, 1953).

Australian photographer and installation artist. Hall began her career as a photographer in the mid-1970s, relinquishing a formal training in painting. She produced black-and-white modernist images of people embedded in their surroundings, favouring the incidental and over-looked. However by 1978, when she had lived for a time in London, Hall shifted away from the documentary tradition. Impressed by the Dada and Surrealism Reviewed exhibition at the Hayward Gallery that year, she started to create small yet dense tableaux from discarded objects. During 1978–82 she was a student at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY and, on returning to Australia, wholeheartedly adopted strategies of appropriation and intricate fabrication for her photographs. One of the first Australian artists qualified to teach photo-studies, Hall taught at the South Australian School of Art, Adelaide, from 1983.

Hall’s camera images became increasingly idiosyncratic, playful and interpretatively complex. Instead of seeing meaning in the world around her, she decisively devised projects that explored major philosophical themes. In ...