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Geoffrey R. Edwards

(b Melbourne, Sept 11, 1924).

Australian sculptor. After working in England as an assistant to Henry Moore in 1955–6, he returned to Australia in 1957 and enrolled as a part-time sculpture student at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Moore’s influence is visible in Parr’s early works, small-scale constructions of standing or seated figures, representing allegorical or biblical subjects and evoking a definite sense of heroic narrative. In the early 1960s Parr’s sculpture became increasingly abstract and larger in scale, and he began the Constellations series, which confirmed his reputation in Australia as a pioneer of welded metal sculpture. Biomorphic or insect-like in appearance, the Constellations are generally open, horizontal structures, with flailing tendrils and probing mandibles, and with dish- or pod-shaped bodies. The steel ribs of which they are composed enhance the organic feeling of the overall form. While the Constellations evoke bizarre, antediluvian creatures, Parr’s sculpture underwent a radical conceptual shift after the late 1960s. Inspired by the crisp, logical and monumental forms of agricultural machinery, he began producing streamlined configurations of regular, flat steel plates and bent strips. While much of Parr’s sculpture shows an affinity with the spiky, welded constructions of Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, Herbert Ferber and Julio González, his later, black-painted works, including his various monumental commissions, represent a further refinement of his dynamic and rhythmic formal language....

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 ...

Article

Charles Green

(b Freetown, Sierra Leone, Dec 14, 1965).

Australian installation artist, born in Sierra Leone. Resident in Australia from 1972, Piccinini graduated in 1988 from the Australian National University, Canberra, with a BA and then from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, in 1991 with a BA (Painting). She produced images and objects that embodied imaginary evolutionary jumps and mutations (see, for example, The Young Family; see image page for more views). To produce these, she worked in a succession of new, novel materials and media: from synthetic resins, plastics and silicone developed for special effects in movies to the digital manipulation used in commercial photography and animation. In her 1997 series of photographs, Protein Lattice, a naked female plays with a large hairless rat with an enlarged human ear growing from its back. The work combined the highly contrived language of mainstream fashion photography, brightly lit, glossy and free of imperfection, with an animal that appeared to be one of the hybrid clones then emerging from laboratories. Both glossy-haired model and mutant rat appear equally artificial and equally indebted to technology....

Article

Peter Sutton

(b nr Japingka, Gt Sandy Desert, W. Australia, c. 1940).

Australian Aboriginal painter, printmaker and sculptor.He lived a nomadic hunting and gathering life in the Great Sandy Desert as a boy, until his family, whose native language was Walmatjarri, settled at Cherrabun cattle station near Fitzroy Crossing. He became a stockman and until his forties spent most of his working life in the farming industry. While serving a sentence for murder in Fremantle Prison in 1980, he began to acquire technical skills in Western media such as acrylic paint and screenprinting. The graphic power of his screenprints, for example Rurungurrwarnti, Snake Men (1985; Canberra, N.G.) and Larripuka (1986; Perth, W. Australia, Christensen Fund), and linocuts quickly made his name widely known, and his reputation rose even higher when his paintings, for example Jumirtilangu Parija Purrku II (1987; Robert Holmes à Court priv. col., see Caruana, 1993, pl. 131), with their adventurous use of bright colours and their often dense patterning, attracted public attention during the 1980s, when he was based at Kurlku. His subjects are predominantly traditional Aboriginal ones: either remembered events and routines of his bush boyhood or mythological themes. In both cases his work is intimately focused on the Great Sandy Desert, its physical contents and textures, its history and its cultural and spiritual meaning for Aborigines. Stylistically his work can be related back to ancient sacred designs, which in this region make distinctive use of the interlocking key design. Among his regional contemporaries his work most closely resembles that of Peter Skipper and Jarinyanu David Downs (...

Article

Derek Schulz

(b Wanganui, New Zealand, Sept 4, 1941).

Maori sculptor. He graduated from the University of Auckland School of Fine Art in 1962 and lived in England from 1963 to 1974. He undertook postgraduate studies in sculpture and photography under Hubert Dalwood at Hornsey College of Art, London (1965–6), and exhibited in group shows in England during the 1960s and early 1970s. His sculpture is characterized by an uncompromising use of common building materials adopted to a formal abstraction. As such it was part of a reaction in the mid-1960s to the sculpture of Anthony Caro, and a robustly independent response to the American Minimalism associated with such artists as Donald Judd and Carl Andre. Pine’s interests, however, were always eclectic and his work reflected a wide range of architectural and cultural references. His return to New Zealand in 1974 consolidated this aspect of his sculpture as he began to explore the architecture and arts of Maoritanga. His ...

Article

Paula Furby

(b Panevézys, Lithuania, September 14, 1923).

Australian sculptor and teacher of Lithuanian birth. Pocius trained at the South Australian School of Art, graduating with a Diploma in Fine Art (Sculpture) in 1962. Her teachers were Paul Beadle (1917–92), Alex Leckie (b 1932), John Dowie (b 1915) and Berend van de Struik (b 1929). She made rapid progress, completing the two-year course in one year. From 1962 Pocius exhibited with the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) and served on its council (1962–4). She also exhibited with the Royal South Australian Society of Arts (RSASA), serving on its council (1964–6) and selection committee (1964–7). Pocius lectured part-time in sculpture at the school (1964–75) and in 1970 she took a course in bronze-casting at the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg.

Pocius began sculpting in early middle age, once her two children went to university and she had time for herself. She had studied the history of art in Lithuania and spent time with a Polish uncle who was a professional sculptor, so she knew what the life of a sculptor involved. She worked within the European modernist tradition and aimed to be original, believing that without originality there is no art....

Article

Vivien Johnson

(b Napperby, Northern Territory, c. 1932; d Alice Springs, June 21, 2002).

Australian Aboriginal painter. Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri’s groundbreaking career spanned four decades and as many continents. The power and beauty of his works overcame barriers that had hitherto excluded indigenous artists from contemporary Australian art. He was the first Aboriginal artist to grapple with fame’s daunting challenges.

Possum Tjapaltjarri’s life began in the 1930s in a creekbed on Napperby station 200 ks north-west of Alice Springs in the heart of Anmatyerre country. From boyhood until 1978 he lived the hard and dangerous life of a Central Australian stockman. During this time he also acquired the extensive knowledge of country and Aboriginal law that would later distinguish his paintings.

In early 1972, Possum Tjapaltjarri joined the group of painters at the Papunya settlement (see Aboriginal Australia, §IV, 1). His cousin, Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, was already exploring the idea of a commercial artistic form based on Western Desert traditions when the art teacher Geoffrey Bardon (...

Article

Kyla Mackenzie

(b Ashburton, Christchurch, 1966).

New Zealand sculptor, painter, printmaker, and installation artist of Maori descent. Robinson trained as a sculptor at Ilam School of Fine Arts in Christchurch (1985–8). He had artist residencies in Germany and Australia and held guest lectureships in the US, Sweden, and Denmark. He took up the post of Associate Professor at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, in 2003.

Robinson gained early attention for his provocative paintings and sculptures exploring ethnic identity politics and international art careerism. In the ‘Percentage Paintings’ from 1993 he appeared to question his positioning as Maori artist and his 3.125% Maori ‘blood’. His ironic commentaries on the commodification of indigenous artists employed text and image using oil sticks in a crude style as well as the reds, whites, and blacks of Maori art. Strategic Plan (1998; Auckland, A.G) features a Maori tiki-like motif, adopts a wall-chart approach, and outlines ‘tips’ for artists. His ambiguous sculptures often used motifs from travel technology, such as the ...

Article

Bernard Kernot and Ngarino Ellis

[Lazarus ]

(b Turanga [now Poverty Bay], NZ, c. 1800; d Turanga, Sept 29, 1873).

New Zealand Maori wood-carver, builder, and tribal leader. Rukupo belonged to the Rongowhakaata tribe and was educated in the tribal school of learning called Tokitoki. In 1831, after shore-based trading was established in Turanga, metal tools replaced stone ones, and thus all Rukupo’s extant works are carved with metal tools. He is said to have helped carve the war canoe Te Toki a Tapiri (Auckland, Inst. & Mus.) at Turanga in 1836. In about 1840 he adopted Christianity, taking the biblical name Raharuhi (Lazarus). Rukupo’s masterpiece is the carved meeting-house Te Hau ki Turanga, erected at Orakaiapu pa (now Manutuke), Turanga, to honour his recently deceased brother from whom he inherited the mantle of tribal leadership. It opened in either 1843 or 1845. It is now housed in the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, but is to be repatriated to Rongowhakaata some time before 2019. Rukupo is also renowned for leading carvers in their work on a new Anglican church at Whakato Marae, Turanga in ...

Article

William Main

(b Keboemen, Indonesia, 1915; d Australia, Aug 1985).

New Zealand photographer and decorative artist of Dutch origin. He was educated in the Netherlands and in New Zealand, where he attended the Canterbury School of Fine Arts, Christchurch, in 1939. Shortly after this he gradually withdrew from Western cultural influences and began to draw upon Asian and Polynesian influences for his artistic inspiration. While attempting to trace early examples of Maori art he studied cave drawings in remote parts of New Zealand, and also photographed geothermal formations in the centre of North Island. Influenced by the Maori artist Pine Taiapa, he revived an almost forgotten Maori art form by decorating gourds with intricate moko designs. Finally, he took up the carving of jade ornaments, and his success in this work led to the publication of his book Jade Country (1973). Dissatisfied with the way his work was received, he left New Zealand to live in Indonesia and Australia....

Article

Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel

The final decades of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed an increasing propensity for artists to incorporate aspects of science in their own art. In many fields of scientific research—including the cloning of mammals, the genetic modification of crops, the creation of bioengineered organs and tissues, advances in nanotechnology and robotics, experimental research in how the human mind works and the study of artificial intelligence—the frontiers of knowledge pushed outward at an accelerated pace. In the spirit of creative inquiry, or in order to critique the goals and outcomes of scientific experimentation and application, artists regularly borrowed subjects, tools and approaches from science as a means to the production of art ( see fig. ).

In documenting and assessing the achievements of visual artists engaged with science, there was no broad consensus on the categorisation of artists’ work across the full range of activities, methods, motivations and use of materials. Assessments of artistic practice focused on artists’ work categorised by the traditional fields of science (e.g. artists who explore biology, artists who explore physical sciences). Other analyses of artistic practice focused on categories of art media (e.g. artists who use traditional means such as carving and casting to represent scientific discoveries, artists who explore and employ biological materials and scientific instruments)....

Article

Kathi Holt-Damant

(b Regensburg, 1946).

Australian architect, academic, sculptor and poet of German birth. Selenitsch produced work across many disciplines that reflected the migrant culture of Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. Utilizing his linguistic heritage (Russian, German and English), together with the idea of translation, he characteristically offered multiple viewpoints of the same text, enabling new meanings to emerge. With a primary interest in ideas, he examined ordinary, everyday objects, often choosing such anchoring motifs as the Southern Cross as themes. Each project (in art, architecture, or poetry) is part of a larger set of similar, but different pieces. Within each set there are operational rules that deal with relationships between elements. Each piece will reflect these rules, while being substantially altered. A set will show a series of transformations from the original object, which can be viewed graphically as a series of patterns, exposing cultural subjectivities, for example, Southern Cross, Ladders, Dante’s Purgatorio...

Article

(Travers)

(b Melbourne, 1889; d Melbourne, 1957).

Australian sculptor. He worked as a doctor but was a self-taught artist and devoted his free time to sculpture. From 1914 to 1916 he was in England and France serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and in London it is probable that he saw the London Group exhibition of March 1915 and the Vorticist exhibition of June 1915. His own sculpture, at any rate, showed the influence of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Jacob Epstein and primitivism, making it among the most avant-garde then being produced in Australia and leading to such works as Seated Figure (polished granite; Ballarat, A.G.). Despite his medical work his output was substantial, though his sculptures were small, and he worked mostly in stone, producing animal and figure pieces. His independent means gave him the freedom to be more experimental than many of his Australian colleagues. Between c. 1925 and 1930 he held life classes in Melbourne with his wife ...

Article

(b Florence, c. 1820; d Perth, W. Australia, 1907).

Australian architect, sculptor and mason of Italian birth. He travelled widely before emigrating to Melbourne in 1851. After working on the gold diggings, he established himself as a sculptor, monumental mason and contractor. In 1869 he was appointed Diocesan Architect in Goulburn, New South Wales, and worked on the cathedral there. By 1875 he had moved to Brisbane where, in the boom of the 1880s, he designed numerous buildings in a much-admired florid, Italianate style as well as some more restrained schools and Gothic churches. His work in Brisbane included the M. D. Benjamin Warehouse (later Dalgety’s; 1881; destr.), the Opera House (1886; destr.) and the residences Bertholme (1881) and Palm Rosa (1887). He also designed the Christian Brothers College (1875) and All Hallows School (1880), and the churches of St Andrew’s (1878) and St Patrick’s (1880), all in Brisbane. Undeterred by depressed conditions in Queensland after ...

Article

(b East Charlton, Somerset, July 27, 1825; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, nr Paris, Nov 30, 1878).

English sculptor. He was apprenticed to his father, George Summers, a mason. He then worked as a studio assistant, first to Henry Weekes and then in 1846 to Musgrave Lewthwaite Watson. From 1848 to 1851 he attended the Royal Academy Schools in London. In 1851 he contracted tuberculosis, and in 1853, having abandoned a chance to study in Rome, he settled in Australia. The sea voyage effected the hoped-for cure, and for a while he joined his brothers in the goldfields at Tarnagulla. He was a gifted artist who worked in a classical manner, and he soon re-established himself as a sculptor in Melbourne. Among his earliest commissions was the supervision of the stone-carving on the façade of the new Melbourne Parliament House. He became active in art circles and knew the immigrant painters Eugene von Guérard and Nicholas Chevalier. In 1861 he re-formed the then defunct Victoria Society of Arts and in ...

Article

John Hovell

(b Tikitiki, nr Gisborne, 1901; d Tikitiki, 1972).

New Zealand Maori wood-carver. He was of Ngati Porou tribal descent. Taiapa began his artistic career in 1925, working on the Maori decorations of St Mary’s memorial church at Tikitiki. In the 1920s and early 1930s he attended the school for Maori arts established in Rotorua by Apirana Ngata. There he was given skilled instruction in the use of the adze as a major carving tool, and he went on to be the chief exponent of adze-carving in the Maori world. Between 1927 and 1940 Taiapa worked on 64 meeting-houses, and, after military service during World War II, he worked on a further 39 (1946–71). In the last 25 years of his life he taught hundreds of young people (mixed Maori and non-Maori) about Maori arts, both during the actual construction of his meeting-houses and, from 1934, at Te Aomarama, the Institute of Maori Carving at Rotorua. He was also a central figure in the renaissance of the Maori arts movement in the 1960s....

Article

Robin Woodward

( Lascelles )

(b Auckland, June 23, 1937).

New Zealand sculptor. Twiss graduated in 1959 with a Diploma of Fine Arts (Honours in Sculpture) from the Elam School of Fine Arts, at the University of Auckland. At the forefront of developments in New Zealand sculpture since the early 1960s, he was appointed lecturer at Elam in 1966, Head of Sculpture in 1974, and Associate Professor in 1984. He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002.

In the 1960s Twiss introduced artistic bronze-casting to New Zealand by constructing a foundry and experimenting with casting techniques and materials. Work cast in concrete, lead, bronze, and aluminium were followed in the 1970s by brightly painted fibreglass and then by fabrication in galvanized sheet steel in later decades. Twiss’s childhood interest in puppetry led to involvement in early television production in New Zealand, as well as informing his subject-matter in sculpture. Jugglers and acrobats in his early work were followed in the 1960s by images from popular culture and sport (e.g. ...

Article

(Ivanovich)

(b Kagal’nitskaya, nr Rostov-on-Don, Dec 16, 1897; d Melbourne, March 22, 1958).

Australian painter and sculptor of Russian birth. He had no early formal art training, attending instead the Technical Artillery School in St Petersburg before serving in the Russian army (1917–18). He fled Russia, travelled overland through Asia and arrived in Australia in 1923. In 1929 he went to France to study art and then worked as an artist in Brazil, the West Indies, England, Spain and Portugal. In 1935 he returned to Australia where he began painting street scenes of the inner suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, for example a Street in Fitzroy (1937; Mr and Mrs John Reed priv. col., see St John Moore, p. 48). Vassilieff’s direct and expressive painting with its graphic spontaneity and free use of colour was opposed to the influence of French formal abstraction on Australian art. The roots of his art lie as much in the folk art of his Cossack heritage as in the work of such artists as Vincent van Gogh, Maurice de Vlaminck and Chaïm Soutine, whom he admired....

Article

Roger Neich

(b Mangamuka, nr Kaitaia, 1854; d Rotorua, Sept 1931).

New Zealand Maori wood-carver. He went to Rotorua with his mother when he was a few years old, following her capture and forced removal to North Auckland. He grew up at Ruato on Lake Rotoiti among his own people of Ngati Tarawhai, who were celebrated wood-carvers and canoe builders. He learnt the art of wood-carving in the 1870s from his skilled older relatives, Anaha Te Rahui (1822–1913) and Wero Taroi ( fl 1850–80), but by this time large carved war canoes had become obsolete, being replaced by fully carved meeting-houses as the focus of tribal pride and prestige. Waitere assisted his older relatives on the large carved houses that many tribes in various parts of North Island were commissioning from Ngati Tarawhai; the houses on which he worked include Tiki-a-Tamamutu (1878) at Taupo, Uenuku-mai-Rarotonga (1875) at Maketu and Tuhoromatakaka (1909) at Whakarewarewa. He also became a prolific carver for the Rotorua tourist market, executing large commissions for the New Zealand Government Tourist Department. While working for these European patrons he experimented with naturalism, perspective elements and narrative scenes illustrating local tribal legends. Rauru meeting-house (...

Article

(b Western Samoa, 1947).

English sculptor . He studied at Hornsey College of Art, London, from 1965, and worked with Henry Moore in 1967. He also studied at the Royal College of Art, London (1968–70). With artists such as Bill Woodrow and Tony Cragg, Wentworth shared an interest in the unexpected correlation of found objects and industrial materials. He was drawn to imaginative displacements of common objects presented within a high art context (e.g. lightbulbs cased in wire baskets, garden implements slotted in office furniture). In Mercator (1985) and Between 8 and 9 (1989; both exh. London, Lisson Gal.), large galvanized-metal sheets bend in rhythmic waves, and dexian (office) frames soar skywards in a light-hearted parody of industrial interiors. The titles of Wentworth’s works, sometimes drawn from children’s tales, are as enigmatic as his constructions. During 1993–4 he participated in the Berliner Künstlerprogramme at the daad galerie.

Richard Wentworth (exh. cat. by ...