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Deborah Edwards

(b Isle of Man, Nov 27, 1894; d Sydney, Nov 19, 1937).

Australian sculptor of British birth. He studied at Nottingham School of Art from 1910 to 1915 and again, after active service in World War I, in 1919. He then transferred to the Royal College of Art, London, and was awarded a diploma in sculpture in 1921. In 1922 he received a British School in Rome scholarship for study in Italy but cut this short and emigrated to Australia in May 1923 to become head teacher of the sculpture department at East Sydney Technical College.

Hoff’s work belongs to an inter-war classical revival and his sculptures attest to his absorption of the Paganist–Vitalist theories promoted in Australia in the 1920s and 1930s by his close associate Norman Lindsay. Hoff’s work was generally life-affirming and sexually adventurous for its period. His major paganist sculpture is the relief Deluge: Stampede of the Lower Gods (4.5 m wide; 1925–7; Canberra, N.G.), which depicts crowds of mermaids, dryads, tritons, satyrs and Australian Aborigines. The life-size ...

Article

(b Berlin, Nov 26, 1918).

Australian sculptor of German birth. She studied sculpture at the Berlin Academy in the late 1930s, and later at the RA Schools, London (1940), and at the Glasgow School of Art (1941–3). She then travelled to New York. In 1949 she married the Australian painter–printmaker Grahame King (b 1915), whom she had met at The Abbey, an artists’ colony in London. They travelled together to Australia in 1951. Underdeveloped attitudes to modern sculpture in the 1950s prompted Inge King and others, including Lenton Parr, Vincas Jomantas (b 1912), Clifford Last (b 1918), Norma Redpath (b 1928), Julius Kane (1921–62) and Teisutis Zikaris (b 1922), to form a group known as Centre 5 (see Australia §IV 2.) that was determined to publicize contemporary sculpture and urge architects to incorporate sculptural commissions in buildings and public spaces. It took King ten years in Australia to achieve her mature style, which was expressed in monumental public commissions executed in evenly black-coated welded steel. ...

Article

Christine Clark

(b Sydney, June 19, 1920; d Sydney, June 19, 2001).

Australian sculptor, collagist and teacher. While serving in the Royal Australian Navy as a seaman during World War II, he was stationed ashore in 1943 to make scale models of ships and aeroplanes. After the war he studied sculpture, mainly wood-carving, under Lyndon Dadswell at the East Sydney Technical College, and in 1947 travelled to London, where he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art for a short period. He felt restricted by the conventional teaching methods of both these institutions and their inherent dependency upon the figure. While living in London he regularly visited the major museums, making thousands of drawings in order to develop a vocabulary of forms and shapes that he used as a basis for his sculptural ideas. He was interested in the relationship between organic and machine forms and the internal structure of these forms. This was the beginning of his developing sculptural language, which he called a ‘relationship of forms’....

Article

(b St Petersburg, Sept 13, 1873; d Cobbity, NSW, May 29, 1930).

Australian painter, draughtsman and sculptor. He lived for a period in Europe and emigrated to Australia in 1887. He trained under Julian Rossi Ashton, gaining early recognition for his draughtsmanship. In 1901 he studied in Paris at the Académie Colarossi under Auguste Delécluse (b 1855). He was strongly influenced by the work of Diego Velázquez and Edouard Manet. The work of Sandro Botticelli later inspired him to paint in a high key and with an enhanced realism, as in Important People (1914; Sydney, A.G. NSW). He lived in England from 1902 to 1921, and thereafter in Australia.

At first Lambert earned his living through illustrations for magazines and books. In early paintings such as Across the Black Soil Plains (1899; Sydney, A.G. NSW), he expressed a nationalist sentiment through the depiction of Australian pioneers. His principal work was in portraiture, in both pencil and oil, in which he demonstrated a sensitive appreciation of character and bravura style. He also painted large, highly stylized paintings of family and friends, such as ...

Article

Geoffrey R. Edwards

(b Sydney, July 6, 1950).

Australian glass artist. He studied science at the University of Sydney and in 1972 began a series of studies in glass in Australia, the USA and England. While in the USA he attended the Pilchuck School founded by Dale Chihuly and established a close association with the Pilchuck programme. His spectacular deployment of neon tubing as a floating serpentine pattern across panels of glossy, black moulded glass, brought him a number of major architectural commissions including large-scale murals for the Coal Board Building in Singleton, New South Wales, and the ANZ Bank in Melbourne. From the early 1980s Langley developed a series of idiomatic sculptural objects in which heavily textured and sandblasted slabs of fused glass are embedded with symbols and geometric emblems composed of intricate tesserae.

A. McIntyre: ‘Warren Langley Glass Works: Art of Man Gallery, Paddington, December 1978’, Craft Australia, 2 (Winter 1979), pp. 50–51 I. Bell: ‘Warren Langley’, ...

Article

Vivien Johnson

(b Kooralia, N. Territory, ?1929–39; d Alice Springs, 1984).

Australian Aboriginal painter and wood-carver. He was the initiated man of the Anmatyerre/Aranda language group. Leura grew up on Napperby station and worked as a stockman before moving to Papunya with his young family when the settlement was established in the late 1950s. There he worked as a carver of wooden snakes and goannas renowned in central Australia for their brilliant craftsmanship. When painting began at Papunya in 1971, he quickly joined the group and became the close friend and assistant of the art teacher Geoffrey Bardon (b 1940). He also enlisted his younger brother Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. In the mid-1970s the brothers’ collaboration on a series of large topographical paintings incorporating several Dreaming stories in map-like configuration on one canvas was of considerable importance. It was one of the factors that gave the painting from Papunya a greater appeal to European sensibilities. Leura became custodian of the country known as Nurta on Napperby Creek, and painted the Possum, Yam, Fire, Blue Tongue Lizard, Sun, Moon and Morning Star Dreamings associated with this area. Always prolific, he had a delicacy of touch, and his translucent painterly effects are distinctive even in his earliest works. The sombreness of his work reflects a profound sadness at the loss of the old ways of life....

Article

Pamela Bell

(b Mosman, NSW, April 23, 1908; d Emu Plains, NSW, Feb 20, 1978).

Australian painter, textile designer, and sculptor. From 1925 to 1929 she studied in Sydney with Anthony Dattilo Rubbo (1870–1955), an Italian-born academic painter whose students were significant in the development of modernism in Australia. In 1933 Lewers studied at the London Central School of Arts and Crafts, and met Herbert Read and the artists of Unit One. Her works during the 1930s included Bauhaus-inspired domestic artefacts, such as pottery, modernist timber furniture, and hand-printed fabrics. After World War II she continued her studies in Sydney with the Hungarian artist Desiderius Orban (1884–1986), who had himself studied at the Académie Julian in Paris when Cubism was developing. Lewers took up his Aristotelian ideas based on the essence of the object. She was influenced by Vieira da Silva and later Afro, whose paintings were exhibited in Sydney, and also by colleagues who followed the ideas of Dynamic Symmetry. However, she did not study modernist theory herself but worked intuitively and was not part of any artistic group or movement....

Article

Roger Horrocks

[Huai, Leonard Charles]

(b Christchurch, July 5, 1901; d New York, May 15, 1980).

American film maker, sculptor, and painter of New Zealand birth. He began work in New Zealand, then moved to Australia, Samoa, and England (where he settled in 1926). Tusalava (1929) was the first of his 24 films. He pioneered various methods of ‘direct’ film making, eliminating the camera by painting directly on to clear film (Colour Box, 1935), developing the ‘rayogram’ technique (Colour Cry, 1952) and scratching black film (Free Radicals, 1958). He experimented with colour processing in Rainbow Dance (1936) and Trade Tattoo (1937).

The batiks (e.g. Polynesian Connection, 1928) and oil paintings (e.g. Jam Session, 1936; both New Plymouth, NZ, Govett-Brewster A.G.) that Lye exhibited with the Seven and Five Society (1927–34) and in the International Surrealist Exhibition (1936) were influenced by his profound study of tribal art. In 1944...

Article

Robert Leonard

(b Wellington, NZ, Nov 30, 1931).

New Zealand sculptor and printmaker. She was one of the most technically and stylistically diverse of the feminist artists to emerge in New Zealand in the 1970s. In such works as her screenprinted Playground series (1975; Wellington, Mus. NZ, Te Papa Tongarewa) she was concerned to show how women’s identities have been constructed by cultural forces. In exploring how attitudes to women are rooted historically, culturally and psychologically, she drew her imagery from throughout history and from various cultures. In the 1980s much of her work used hair as a medium because of its association with femininity and sexuality. For instance, her Guardian Gates (1982; Wellington, Mus. NZ, Te Papa Tongarewa) is a cycle of seven metal cyclone gates dressed with hair; and in a temporary installation called Stain (1984) a carpet woven from hair and resembling dried trickles of blood was placed on the steps of a cathedral in Dunedin to protest against the Church’s suppression of women....

Article

Alexa M. Johnston

(Morell)

(b Invercargill, May 18, 1920; d Auckland, Oct 12, 1979).

New Zealand sculptor. She studied at the Canterbury School of Art (1938–40), where the guidance of Francis Shurrock (1887–1977) encouraged her to take up sculpture. Her principal subjects were human figures, heads and animals in attitudes of stillness and repose. Among her early works in wood are Head (1948; Auckland, Haydn priv. col., see 1982 exh. cat., no. 8), which depicts a Maori woman, and Mask (1948–50; Auckland, Haydn priv. col., see 1982 exh. cat., no. 16), which is influenced by Pacific carving. In 1952 Macalister’s work was the New Zealand entry in a competition organized by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London for a statue of the Unknown Political Prisoner (unexecuted). Her maquette, in concrete, was exhibited at the Tate Gallery, London, in 1953. The scale of her work increased after 1957, when she began working in cast and moulded concrete. Her principal European influences were Henry Moore and Marino Marini, but a Pacific and Maori awareness is always evident. An exhibition of new work in concrete, with two other sculptors, Alison Duff (...

Article

Geoffrey R. Edwards

(b Melbourne, June 1863; d Devon, England, Oct 1931).

Australian sculptor, active in Britain. He studied at the National Gallery of Victoria School in Melbourne from 1878 to 1882 and then on the suggestion of the English sculptor Marshall Wood (d 1882) he travelled to London, where he spent three months at the Royal Academy Schools in 1883. Finding the training there too academic Mackennal left and visited Paris and Rome, and in 1884 he set up a studio in Paris. He was helped financially by John Peter Russell, who also introduced him to Auguste Rodin. Mackennal found Rodin’s work too revolutionary for his own tastes but did adopt aspects of Rodin’s sensuous subject-matter. Also in Paris he met Alfred Gilbert, who advised him that his work would be better appreciated in England. In 1886 Mackennal became the head of the modelling and design department at the Coalport Potteries, Salop, England, and in 1887 he won the competition to design two relief panels for the façade of the ...

Article

(b Tokomaru Bay, Aug 10, 1933).

New Zealand painter and sculptor. He studied art at Dunedin Teachers’ College in 1957. He was one of a group of young Maori arts and crafts advisers who were encouraged to develop art forms drawing on their Maori cultural heritage and growing knowledge of Western art. Contact with the master carver Pine Taiapa from 1960 to 1972 helped deepen Matchitt’s awareness of Maori art. His major works are either community-orientated projects or series centred on a common theme. Among his community projects are painted murals in the dining-halls at Whangaparaoa, Cape Runaway, and at Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia. A subject central to his output from 1967 was the 19th-century Maori religious leader Te Kooti Rikirangi, exemplified by the mixed-media wall sculpture Te Kooti (1986; U. Auckland). Matchitt was a leader in the renaissance of Maori art, which draws on the resources of Maori traditional culture and history in the shaping of contemporary work....

Article

Howard Morphy

(b ?1922; d Yirrkala, 1982).

Australian Aboriginal painter and sculptor. He was a member of the Manggalili clan of the Yolngu-speaking peoples. He grew up in the Caledon Bay region of north-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, before European colonization. In the 1930s he moved to the newly established mission of Yirrkala and in 1938 helped to establish the Aboriginal settlement of Umbakumba on Groote Eylandt. After World War II he began to produce paintings for sale through the Yirrkala Mission store. He lived in Darwin for some time and won prizes in the Aboriginal art category at the Darwin Eisteddfod. In 1962 he was one of the main painters of the Yirritja moiety panel for Yirrkala Church. In 1963 he travelled with an Aboriginal dance group to perform in the southern states of Australia; on this trip he became determined that Aboriginal art should gain the same recognition in Australia as European art. By the 1970s his paintings (e.g. ...

Article

Geoffrey R. Edwards

(b Melbourne, Feb 9, 1929; d New York, April 19, 2005).

Australian sculptor and designer, active in the USA. He studied aeronautical engineering and later industrial design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, but left without finishing the course. From 1949 to 1953 he worked as an industrial designer, specializing in furniture. Marketed widely in Australia during these years, his furniture was distinguished by its simplicity. It was constructed with plain, undisguised materials such as steel rods, timber laminates, and cord; his tables, chairs, and shelving systems exercised a delight in linear and open structure that conveyed an impression of virtual weightlessness.

In his free time Meadmore began to produce sculptures, carving wooden shapes whose forms were similar to those of tensioned strings, and from 1950 to 1953 experimenting with mobiles. After extensive travel in 1953 in Europe, where he was particularly impressed by modern sculptures that he saw in Belgium, he produced his first large abstract sculptures in welded steel. Some of these, for example ...

Article

Howard Morphy

(b 1929; d 1976).

Australian Aboriginal painter and sculptor. He was a member of the Galpu clan of the Yolngu-speaking people of north-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, and he lived most of his adult life at Yirrkala. With Wandjuk Marika and Larrtjinga (b 1932), he was one of a group of young men of the Dhuwa moiety whose principal teacher was Mawalan Marika. Mithinari soon gained a reputation as an outstanding painter, and in the 1950s and 1960s his paintings were acquired by major collectors, including Louis Allen, Dorothy Bennett, Jim Davidson, Karel Kupka, Ed Ruhe and Stuart Scougall. He was one of the artists who contributed to the panels in Yirrkala Church, painted in 1962–3. Towards the end of his life he became a reclusive figure who lived and worked under a palm-leaf shade on the beach at Yirrkala. His early paintings, with their detailed structure and complex composition, show Marika’s influence strongly. He later developed his own style, characterized by the dynamism of his compositions and by the way in which the figurative images were integrated within the background designs. He worked rapidly, and his output was prodigious. An example of his work is the ...

Article

(b Kentish Town, London, Nov 1, 1868; d Melbourne, Jan 15, 1938).

English sculptor, active in Australia. The son of Horace Montford, Curator of Schools at the Royal Academy of Art, London, he learnt modelling from his father and drawing at the Lambeth School of Art. After studying on a Landseer and British Institute scholarship at the Royal Academy and winning a Gold Medal in 1891, he taught sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art (South-West London Polytechnic) from 1898 to 1903. He also specialized in architectural decoration, completing, for example, reliefs (1892) for Battersea Town Hall and Polytechnic and bronze figure groups (1914) for the Kelvin-Way Bridge, Glasgow. In 1912 he married Marian Alice Dibden, a portrait- and miniature painter. In 1921, attracted by the light, which he believed conducive to monumental sculpture, they travelled to Australia. Montford became very influential in the Victorian Artists’ Society, of which he was President 1930–31. He frequently used the daily press to air avant-garde opinions about the social and environmental role of sculpture in modern cities. He encouraged and assisted such emerging Australian sculptors as Lyndon Dadswell. Montford’s flamboyance, theatrical personality and Bohemian lifestyle were talking points in Melbourne society and led to more than 70 sculptural commissions, including a controversial ...

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

Megan Tamati-Quennell

(b Te Hapua, N. Auckland, NZ, 1939).

Maori painter, sculptor, writer and film maker. His tribal affiliation is Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Te Paatu, Ngati Rehia, Murikahara, Te Whakatohea. He studied at Ardmore and Dunedin Teachers’ College, but he left teaching in 1962 to concentrate on his art, holding his first one-man show at the Ikon Gallery in Auckland in the same year. He was largely self-taught as a painter and sculptor, believing ‘all creative artists are self-taught’. His philosophy of art closely followed the view of Picasso, whom he much admired, that artists should be honest to their own personal experiences and strengths. Muru’s paintings have often been characterized by their narrative political content, from the series telling the story of Parihaka (1972) to the 14 panels of Whakapapa, painted for the Kohia ko taikaka anake exhibition at the National Art Gallery in Wellington, NZ, in 1990. In later years he increasingly combined his skills as an orator and a painter, making extensive use of language in his works to address issues concerning the status of the ...

Article

(b Ballarat, Victoria, 1870; d Rome, Feb 8, 1948).

Australian sculptor and medallist, also active in Italy. Ohlfsen-Bagge came from a well-connected family, attending Sydney Girls’ High School (1884–6) and studying piano under French pianist Henri Kowalski (1841–1916). In 1886 she left Australia to continue musical studies in Berlin at Kullak’s Neue Akademie der Tonkunst under Moritz Moszkowski (1854–1925). She performed for the Kaiser, but was forced to abandon the piano due to neuritis. Her father’s ruin in the 1890 depression forced her to earn a living teaching musical theory. By 1896 she had moved to St Petersburg where she became secretary to the American Consul-General. She turned to sketching and caricature and her talent was so impressive that her Russian friends took her to Rome around 1900. There she learnt the art of modelling and engraving under Camille Alaphillipe and Pierre Dautel. Already mature, she began her artistic career in the tradition of the expatriate American women sculptors living bohemian lives in Rome....

Article

Wally Caruana

(b Melbourne, Dec 4, 1948; d 1996).

Australian Aboriginal painter, sculptor and printmaker. A member of the Wiradjuri people, he was self-taught, and his work, like that of many other Aboriginal artists from urban backgrounds, was ignored by the established art world until the 1980s. He went beyond the traditions of Aboriginal art, yet his work is informed by classical Aboriginal artistic concepts. His concern with depicting Australian life and history from an Aboriginal perspective is evidenced in his first major paintings, the Musquito series (1984; Melbourne, Aborigines Advancement League), which represents an Aboriginal guerrilla fighter in the early colonial era. The paintings are heroic in scope and scale and address official histories, which neglect Aboriginal resistance to colonization. By 1987 Onus had developed close associations with traditional artists, who influenced his work. Ensuing paintings juxtaposed images from European and Aboriginal worlds, reflecting the dilemmas and aspirations of Aboriginal people living in a predominantly non-Aboriginal society. Major works from this period include ...