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Kyla Mackenzie

(b Nelson, 1949).

New Zealand photographer. Aberhart became a leading photographer in New Zealand from the 1970s with his distinctive 8×10 inch black-and-white photographs, taken with a 19th-century large format Field Camera. He is particularly well known for his images of disappearing cultural history, often melancholic in tone, in New Zealand.

Aberhart’s use of an ‘outmoded’ process for picturing subjects in apparent decay or decline paradoxically re-invigorated them. He was inspired by the documenting traditions of New Zealand’s itinerant 19th-century photographers. His generally provincial subjects included vacant architectural interiors and exteriors, such as domestic houses, Masonic lodges, churches, Maori meeting-houses, and cemeteries, war memorials, museum exhibits, landscapes, and horizons (see A Distant View of Taranaki, 14 February 2009, Auckland, A.G.). Aberhart also produced several compelling portraits, especially those from the late 1970s and early 1980s of his daughters (e.g. Kamala and Charlotte in the Grounds of the Lodge, Tawera, Oxford, 1981; Christchurch, NZ, A.G.)....

Article

Howard Morphy, Andrée Rosenfeld, Peter Sutton, Ian Keen, Catherine H. Berndt, Ronald M. Berndt, Paul Memmott, Kate Khan, Betty Meehan, Carol Cooper, Luke Taylor, Robert Layton, J. V. S. Megaw, M. Ruth Megaw and Francesca Cavazzini

Culture of the original inhabitants of Australia and their descendants. This survey covers the traditional art forms of the Australian Aborigines, such as rock art, sculpture in wood, clay and sand, body decoration, and bark painting, both before and after European colonization took place at the end of the 18th century. It also examines the interrelationships between the art of Aboriginal groups living in different regions on the continent. Traditional art forms have continued to be produced in most regions well into the late 20th century, but at the same time some contemporary Aboriginal artists, influenced by the dominant white culture in which they now live, have begun to explore new forms and media; this art, produced mainly for external markets, is discussed separately.

Australia and New Guinea formed a single landmass, the prehistoric continent of Sahul, until c. 8000 years ago, when the rising sea-level separated them at the Torres Strait. This continent was first occupied at least 40,000 years ago, by people who arrived by boat from South-east Asia. By 30,000 ...

Article

In the 1990s, Aboriginal art gained for the first time a substantial audience as contemporary art. Ten years earlier it had been the preserve of anthropologists and marketed as ‘primitive fine art’ to collectors of tribal art. In 1980, Andrew Crocker, the newly-appointed manager of Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd—the Western Desert artist-run company formed in 1972—sought to change this by marketing the art on purely aesthetic grounds without reference to its Aboriginality. This coincided with a growing interest in the art by an emerging generation of contemporary artists. When abstract paintings from Papunya Tula began appearing in contemporary art venues, Australian critics wondered if they were pieces of Post-modernist or conceptual art. By the end of the decade, such questions were being asked at an international level, with Western Desert art playing a significant role in the emerging post-colonial debate. While this international interest by critics quickly waned, from this time onwards, Aboriginal art became well and truly framed in the Australia art world by the discourses of Post-modernism, post-colonialism and contemporary art....

Article

(b London, c. 1843; d Perth, Western Australia, May 8, 1879).

Australian watercolourist, Soldier, colonist and businessman of English descent. The son of the watercolour painter John Absolon (1815–95), he served in the Queen’s Rifles and exhibited paintings and sketches with the Society of British Artists before first visiting Western Australia in 1869. Shipboard watercolour sketches and many studies of the bushland environs of Perth, such as From the Verandah at Northam, (1869–70; see Kerr, p. 5) recorded this first journey. He returned to England to marry Sarah Bowles Habgood, the niece of Thomas Habgood, an influential colonist, and daughter of Robert Mace Habgood, who divided his business and shipping interests between London, Fremantle and Geraldton. The couple returned to Perth, Western Australia, where Absolon helped manage the family’s mining and mercantile interests. The firm of R. W. Habgood & Co. of Fremantle and London was known thereafter as Habgood Absolon & Co. He adapted his painting methods to an impressionistic manner that captured the harsh light and sparsely vegetated antipodean landscape. He also represented the London Art Union in Western Australia from ...

Article

(b Holywood, County Down, Ireland, Jan 26, 1922).

Australian painter, printmaker, book designer, lecturer, collector, gallery director and publisher of limited edition artists’ books, of Irish decent. He worked as a draughtsman before entering war service in the British Admiralty from 1940 to 1949, including five years in Colombo, where he made sketching trips to jungle temples with the Buddhist monk and artist Manjsiro Thero. Between 1949 and 1951 Adams worked as an exhibition designer in London and studied wood-engraving with Gertrude Hermes in her evening class at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (now Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design). In 1951, after moving to Melbourne, Adams began a 30-year teaching commitment at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where he instructed many of the younger generation of Australian printmakers, including George Baldessin and Jan Senbergs. A brief return to Britain and Ireland in 1957–8 provided experience with Dolmen Press, Dublin, which published his first book of engravings, ...

Article

Valerie A. Clack

Australian city and capital of the state of South Australia. It is situated on the banks of the River Torrens, between the Mt Lofty Ranges and Gulf St Vincent in the south-eastern part of the continent. The city (population c. 1 million) is noted for its fine colonial urban plan. Adelaide was founded in 1836 as an exercise in planned settlement, jointly controlled by the British Government and a London committee whose members were influenced by Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s ideas on systematic colonization. The final site for the city, c. 8 km from the sea, with a suitable inlet for a harbour (Port Adelaide) c. 11 km to the north-west, was selected amid considerable controversy by Surveyor-General Colonel William Light (1786–1839). Light’s urban plan is remarkable for its public squares and parkland, features not included in Governor Darling’s regulations (1829) for New South Wales, which dominated 19th-century urban planning in most parts of Australia. Light planned Adelaide in two parts, north and south of the river. The grid of the southern part, the principal commercial area, was orientated to the cardinal directions, with two main streets (King William Street and Grote/Wakefield streets) intersecting at a central square (Victoria Square). Four smaller squares were also included, and the outer streets on all four sides were planned as broad terraces, with North Terrace, bordering the river, intended for the best residences: Government House, a stuccoed Regency villa by ...

Article

John Hovell

(b Wairoa, Hawke’s Bay, NZ, Aug 27, 1939).

Maori painter, carver, weaver, costume and stage designer. His involvement with art began at Te Aute Maori Boys’ College (1954–7), Hawke’s Bay, Waipawa County, and continued with formal art training at Ardmore Teachers’ College (1958–9) and at Dunedin Teachers’ College (1960), where he trained as an art specialist. He subsequently worked for the Department of Education as an arts and crafts adviser and served on committees for national art education policies, the Historic Places Trust (with particular reference to Maori sites), art museums and tribal committees (dealing with traditional and customary art forms and architecture). He helped to promote contemporary developments in Maori arts for community buildings, meeting houses, churches and public sites, serving on private and governmental commissions. In his own work he maintains a balance between the conservation of older traditional materials and forms of Maori arts and the experimental use of new materials, such as composite chipboard, synthetic dyes, plastic-coated basketry fibres and composite, laminated board. His painted and woven-fibre works are notable for their rich but subtle colours and controlled sense of line. They vary in size from complex architectural installations or stage designs for the Royal New Zealand Ballet to designs for postage stamps. At Te Huki Meeting House (...

Article

Michael Dunn

(b Auckland, May 7, 1943).

New Zealand painter. She studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland, from 1960 to 1963 and subsequently travelled extensively in the USA and Europe. Her paintings are abstractions with a basis in nature, to which she alludes in her titles. An early and enduring influence on her work were the colour paintings of Helen Frankenthaler. Albrecht’s painting is distinguished by its strong colouring and feeling. Among her most important works are her Hemisphere paintings from a series begun in 1981, in which the canvases are semi-circular. An example is the Fire and the Rose (1984; Wanganui, Sarjeant A.G.). Since 1989 Albrecht has been working on an oval format and has introduced a deeper, more reflective tone to her paintings. Her work is represented in public art galleries in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and in private collections worldwide.

After Nature: Gretchen Albrecht. A Survey: 23 Years (exh. cat., ed. ...

Article

Jennifer Taylor

(Edward Cambrian)

(b Sydney, Feb 25, 1904; d Newcastle, NSW, Dec 8, 1979).

Australian architect. After graduation from the Sydney Technical College in 1929, Ancher travelled in Europe. He formed a partnership with Reginald Prevost in Sydney, 1936–9, and in 1946 established Sydney Ancher and Partners. Ancher’s most influential work, principally his early houses, combines the visual characteristics of the International Style with a sensitive response to Australia’s geography (see Sydney school). These glass-walled houses have flat or concealed low-pitched roofs, and sheltered terraces and courtyards that extend the open-planned interiors, providing convenient areas for outdoor living. Their white geometric forms contrast with and complement their bush settings, for example numbers 1, 2 and 4 Maytone Avenue, Killara, Sydney (1946–8). In later years Ancher experimented with broken roof forms and bright colours: his own houses at Coffs Harbour (1958), and Camden (1972), both NSW, illustrate these characteristics that were, in part, derived from a closer interest in the Australian rural vernacular....

Article

Jennifer Taylor

(Hamilton)

(b Sydney, Oct 29, 1933).

Australian architect. He graduated from the University of Sydney in 1956 and from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard, in 1958. He established his practice in Toronto in 1962 and received early acclaim for the design of Scarborough College (1963), University of Toronto. This was followed by major commissions throughout North America, including Gund Hall (1968), Harvard, Cambridge, MA. Andrews’s North American buildings are characterized by heroic forms, usually in reinforced concrete, determined by the functional programme. Circulation patterns and geometry are the primary ordering devices in complexes of bold articulated units such as Scarborough College, University Student Residences (1965), Guelph, Ont., and the Port Passenger Terminal (1967), Miami.

These interests dominate the buildings he designed after his return to Sydney in 1969. The Cameron Offices (1976), Canberra, demonstrates his concern for the user and his belief that buildings are not independent entities but parts of the larger whole that is the city. However, the very containment of the urban enclave constituted by the Merlin Hotel (...

Article

Michael Dunn

revised by Edward Hanfling

[Henrietta] (Catherine)

(b Hastings, March 12, 1908; d Wellington, Jan 26, 1970).

New Zealand painter. Angus studied at the Canterbury School of Art, Christchurch (1927–33). In 1930 she married the artist Alfred Cook (1907–70) and used the signature Rita Cook until 1946; they had separated in 1934. Her painting Cass (1936; Christchurch, NZ, A.G.) is representative of the regionalist school that emerged in Canterbury during the late 1920s, with the small railway station visualizing both the isolation and the sense of human progress in rural New Zealand. The impact of North American Regionalism is evident in Angus’s work of the 1930s and 1940s. However, Angus was a highly personal painter, not easily affiliated to specific movements or styles. Her style involved a simplified but fastidious rendering of form, with firm contours and seamless tonal gradations (e.g. Central Otago). Her paintings were invested with symbolic overtones, often enigmatic and individual in nature. The portrait of Betty Curnow...

Article

Pamela Bell

(b Rome,1850; d Rome, July 2, 1881).

Italian painter and art teacher active in Australia. He trained at the Accademia di S Luca, Rome. His conservative style emulates his teacher Alessandro Capalti’s use of drape, column and rhetorical gesture, as seen in Capalti’s portraits at the University of Sydney. On Bishop James Quinn’s advice, Anivitti emigrated to Brisbane in 1871 with the sculptor Achille Simonetti. In 1875 he was appointed first teacher of painting and drawing at the Art Training School of the New South Wales Academy of Art, founded in 1871. Among his 30 recorded pupils were medal winners Frank Mahony (1862–1916), artist for the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia, whose drawing of Anivitti is at the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and A. J. Fischer, staff artist for the Illustrated Sydney News and Bulletin.

Anivitti’s duties at the Academy included curatorship of a collection of paintings acquired by the Academy with government funds. These paintings became the foundation of the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, whose antecedents were in the Academy....

Article

Australian group of mixed-media artists active in 1962. They formed for the purpose of staging an exhibition of the same name. Ross Crothall (b 1934), Mike Brown and Colin Lanceley worked together in Crothall’s studio in Annandale, a suburb of Sydney, in 1961. They shared an interest in assemblage, collage, junk art, objets trouvés and in non-Western art. Brown, who had worked in New Guinea in 1959, was impressed by the use in tribal house decoration and body ornament of modern urban rubbish such as broken plates and bottletops. Crothall delighted in the altered objet trouvé, for example egg cartons unfolded to become the Young Aesthetic Cow, or pieces of furniture crudely gathered into frontally posed female icons, sparkling with buttons and swirling house-paint, with such titles as Gross Débutante. Lanceley was deeply influenced by his teacher John Olsen and through him by Jean Dubuffet. He covered impastoed surfaces with junk materials, often decorating distorted female forms with strings of pearls, broken plates and other items; in ...

Article

George Tibbits

(b Bendigo, Victoria, Aug 16, 1865; d Melbourne, June 22, 1933).

Australian architect. He served articles with William Salway (1844–1902) in Melbourne and practised alone from the late 1880s to the early 1930s, with a circle of clients and friends drawn from varying levels of Melbourne society. As well as a commitment to the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, he aimed to create an Australian idiom and saw architecture as an art rather than a profession. His talent for sketching and his flair for writing on architecture were also recognized at an early stage in local building journals.

His earliest designs show the influence of H. H. Richardson, whom he greatly admired, but the Viennese Secession may have influenced the Springthorpe Memorial in Kew cemetery, Melbourne (1897). His well-known houses at 32, 34 and 38 The Eyrie, Eaglemont (1902–3), are free and decorative adaptations of a half-timbered, roughcast and Marseilles-tiled idiom fused with an Arts and Crafts approach, which he continued to develop in examples such as the Norman Macgeorge house at Alphington (...

Article

Janet Spens

Australian group of artists formed in Melbourne in February 1959 and active until January 1960. The founder-members were the art historian Bernard Smith (b 1916), who was elected chairman, and the painters Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, David Boyd (b 1924), John Brack, John Perceval and Clifton Pugh. They were joined subsequently by the Sydney-based painter Bob Dickerson (b 1924). Smith chose the name of the group and compiled the Antipodean Manifesto, the appearance of which coincided with the inaugural exhibition, The Antipodeans, held in the Victorian Artists’ Society rooms in Melbourne in August 1959. The group’s main concern was to promote figurative painting at a time when non-figurative painting and sculpture were becoming established as the predominant trend in Australia, as in the USA and Europe. To gain a more prestigious venue to show their work, the group asked Smith to enlist the support of Kenneth Clark, who responded by suggesting the Whitechapel Gallery in London. The Gallery’s director, ...

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

Miles Lewis

(b Ireland, April 26, 1791; d Stanley, Tasmania, Dec 4, 1852).

Australian architect of Irish birth. He trained in the London office of the architect Charles Beazley and worked for five years for John Rennie, before spending eight years in architectural and engineering work in Ireland. In 1826 he was appointed Civil Engineer for Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania), and he arrived at Hobart Town in 1827. He served as colonial architect as well as civil engineer for eleven years, during the first nine of which he was responsible for all government buildings, including military and penal works. His design for the Ordnance Stores, Hobart (1834), shows the austere and megalomaniac stamp of late 18th-century Neo-classicism, but only the less important sections were built, in 1834–8. His Customs House, Hobart (now Parliament House), begun in 1835 and completed by James Blackburn, shows the influence of the Greek Revival, and his monument to Lieutenant-Governor David Collins (1837–8) is Greek in the manner of John Soane. His churches show Regency and Tudor characteristics and are less sophisticated. Archer’s finest engineering work was the bridge on the Midland Highway at Ross, designed on principles derived from Rennie’s work, and enhanced by the fantastically carved voussoirs executed by convict stonemasons....

Article

Marco Livingstone

(b Melbourne, May 5, 1951; d Melbourne, July 22, 1999).

Australian painter. While studying painting at Prahran College, Melbourne, from 1969 to 1971, he discovered airbrushes, technical tools employed by commercial artists which he adopted with alacrity as his favoured instrument for picture-making. At art school Arkley met the collage artist and painter Elizabeth Gower, who had a significant influence over his work. They married in 1973, later separating in 1980. In 1977 he travelled to Paris and New York on residencies, and it was during this time that he became fascinated by architectural motifs as inspirations for painting. In Paris he assiduously photographed Art Nouveau and Art Deco doorways in black and white, intending to use these images as reference points for paintings on his return to Australia. Once back there, however, he decided that he needed to find imagery and subject-matter relevant to his own identity as an Australian. While ringing the doorbell of his mother’s house in suburban Melbourne, he noticed the flywire screen door and realized at once that this indigenous architectural feature, banal and disregarded, would be a much more suitable subject than the artistic doorways of Paris. Following this revelation, he made a succession of identically sized paintings in an elongated vertical format corresponding to these flywire screens, but betraying an astonishing variety of motifs and colour schemes. ...

Article

J. N. Mané-Wheoki

(b London, 1832 or 1833; d Christchurch, New Zealand, Feb 22, 1883).

New Zealand architect of English birth. In 1862, after a lengthy apprenticeship in Melbourne, Australia, Armson arrived in New Zealand. He spent two years (1862–4) in the engineering department of the Otago provincial government, Dunedin, and from 1866 to 1870 he practised in Hokitika on the West Coast. Christchurch, where he finally settled in 1870, nurtured the most productive phase of his career. Inspired by Victorian London’s palazzo-style clubs and Venetian Gothic office blocks, Armson transformed the commercial heart of Christchurch. In Hereford Street alone he designed 12 substantial buildings, but only the Fisher Building (1880), a wedge-shaped structure in Italian Gothic, survives. Elsewhere in Christchurch the former Library (1875), Boys’ High School (1879), Girls’ High School (1880), Anderson’s Shops, Borough Hotel and Butterworth’s Warehouse (1881) demonstrate his versatility in handling historicist vocabularies, while the Loan and Mercantile Company’s Store (...

Article

Within a half-century of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the British Crown and Maori chiefs in 1840—the event from which the beginning of New Zealand (Aotearoa) is generally dated (and leaving aside from the present discussion the tribal art of the indigenous Maori and the early art created by European navigators, explorers, surveyors, itinerant artists, soldiers, and the like)—a rudimentary infrastructure of public art galleries, art societies, and some art schools had arisen in the main cities—Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin—and the beginnings of a discourse concerning the character and purpose of the visual arts in the new nation emerged. The central question was whether or not such a phenomenon as ‘New Zealand art’ existed or should exist and what characteristics it should aspire to. These matters were vigorously debated for a decade or so either side of 1890 when the infant nation marked its 50th anniversary with a jubilee. The discourse about national identity then largely disappeared for a generation only to emerge again a decade or so either side of ...