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date: 21 January 2020

Pugh, Clifton (Ernest)locked

(b Richmond, Victoria, Dec 17, 1924; d Cottles Bridge, Victoria, Oct 14, 1990).
  • Jan Minchin

Extract

(Ernest)

(b Richmond, Victoria, Dec 17, 1924; d Cottles Bridge, Victoria, Oct 14, 1990).

Australian painter and illustrator. He enlisted at the age of 18 and served with the Australian Imperial Forces during World War II. While hospitalized in New Guinea for several months, he turned to art as a means of expressing his concern for humanity. Returning home, he studied at the National Gallery Art School, Melbourne, under William Dargie (b 1912) from 1947 to 1950. In 1951 he moved to Cottles Bridge on the outskirts of Melbourne, built a house and studio in the bush and devoted himself to painting.

In 1954 Pugh travelled across the Nullarbor Plain. His experience of the vast uninhabited landscape altered his tonal approach to painting to an emotional expressionist style, which used sharp colour contrasts to convey his understanding of ‘the beauty and terror, the soft and hard qualities of nature’. His work received recognition in 1955 when exhibited in Group of Four at the Victorian Artists’ Society. In the following years, his concern for the preservation of the Australian landscape and its wildlife was reflected in bush landscapes studded with native animals and birds. These at times brutal images revealed his knowledge of the bush and the constant struggle for survival in nature....

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