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date: 20 September 2019

Johnson, George Henrylocked

(b Nelson, New Zealand, Aug 19, 1926).

Extract

(b Nelson, New Zealand, Aug 19, 1926).

Australian painter of New Zealand descent. With his close colleagues Roger Kemp and Leonard French, he introduced abstract painting to Melbourne audiences in the 1950s; he has remained, arguably, Australia’s most uncompromising and vigorous exponent of non-objectivity. His strongly geometric works have survived three distinct waves of abstract painting and in the 1990s were shown alongside those of younger generations. In New Zealand he studied painting at the Wellington Technical School and joined a group of avant-garde painters that included Gordon Walters and Theo Schoon. After arriving in Australia in 1951, Johnson relinquished all traces of figuration. Like Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich and some artists from ancient and diverse cultures (including those of the Pacific and South America, where he travelled extensively), he turned to pure abstraction, creating images that symbolized a strong commitment to social issues and universalizing ideas. His first exhibition at the Tasmanian Tourist Bureau Gallery, Melbourne, in ...

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