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Article

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

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

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

The collecting cycles and art market trends in Australia from 1995 to 2010 clearly reflected the developments in art markets all around the world. The market for all periods in Australian art peaked in 2007, decreasing by a third before forming a plateau. Primarily, the building of Australian art collections dominated art sales, with only a small percentage of collectors involved in collecting international art. Although the latter was a growing trend, accessibility to the international art market limited this area of collecting.

During this period the collecting base in Australia broadened enormously in all areas of collecting, with Australian modern art (1940–70), contemporary art (1970–to present) and indigenous art being most sought after, exhibited and documented. Generally the market followed the same peaks and troughs seen elsewhere, without experiencing the same meteoric rises from the speculative and hedge fund-based money that were visible in other major centres. Although ...

Article

Ian J. Lochhead

(Charles)

(b Christchurch, July 15, 1940; d Wellington, Jan 16, 2015).

New Zealand architect. He studied at the University of Auckland School of Architecture (1961–3) and joined Structon Group Architects, Wellington, in 1963, becoming a partner in 1965. In 1968 he formed Athfield Architects with Ian Dickson (b 1949) and Graeme John Boucher (b 1944). An innovative designer who has continually questioned the orthodoxy of Modernism, Athfield established his reputation with small-scale domestic buildings during the 1970s. Additive plans, fragmented forms and allusions to the traditions of New Zealand colonial architecture characterize designs such as Athfield house, Wellington (begun 1968), and Cox house, Wellington (1975). Often clinging to precarious sites, his houses respond directly to the landscape. Athfield works closely with clients, often involving them in the construction process. In 1976 he won first prize in the International Competition for the Urban Environment of Developing Countries, Manila, Philippines, with a community-based project for rehousing Manila slum dwellers....

Article

From the 1990s onwards, Australian contemporary art experienced significant growth in exhibition venues, both quantitatively, in terms of the number and scale of available spaces, and qualitatively, in terms of their scope, ambition and critical impact. The boom in physical exhibition spaces including museums, artist spaces, and commercial and non-profit galleries on the one hand and, on the other, the boom in such event-based institutions as biennales, triennials and festivals is consistent with global trends but also sits within the more general process of increasing confidence and internationalization of Australian art and its institutions that has been under way since the late 1960s. As such, these changes were a response to the country’s specific geographical and cultural conditions, and to shifts within art practice itself. It is important to note, however, that they have been neither constant nor consistent, and have involved significant challenges at the level of sustainability.

Australia was a relative latecomer to dedicated institutional support for contemporary art, with the country’s first and only public contemporary art museum opening in Sydney in ...

Article

As late as the early 1990s, it seemed to many Australian art critics that a multicultural, appropriation-based Post-modernism would constitute a distinctively Australian contribution to art (see Tillers, Imants). However, by the mid-1990s, for reasons at the same time political, economic and simply artistic, it was no longer possible to reduce the art made at the so-called periphery (in Australia) and art created at the so-called centre (at the traditional North Atlantic hubs of art production and consumption) to relationships between Post-modern (even post-colonial) copies and North Atlantic originals. Post-modernism as a coherent framework for explaining either Australian or international art was finished.

Post-modernism as a period style or broad, umbrella movement was now periodized in revisionist texts (such as Rex Butler’s book, What is Appropriation, 1996, and Charles Green’s book, Peripheral Visions, 1995) and by a resurgent political conservatism after 1996 that was prosecuted in fierce ‘Culture Wars’ already familiar from the US. Post-modernism in art was replaced—so an emerging art critical consensus began to hold—with a new term that attained a currency so ubiquitous it became self-evident: contemporary art. The usage of the word ‘contemporary’ was definite and different (as argued in T. Smith’s book, ...

Article

Ian McLean

(b Bedford Downs cattle station, Western Australia, c.1922; d Kununurra, Western Australia, July 14, 2007).

Australian Aboriginal painter (see fig.). A member of the Gija people from the East Kimberley region in north-western Australia. The transforming moment for Gija-speakers of his generation was the 1969 government legislation for equal pay on cattle stations. Bedford’s life as a stockman was suddenly terminated since stations would not pay their Aboriginal staff. Like many Gija at the time, he eventually settled at the former ration station of Turkey Creek (now Warmun). In the 1970s it became the hub for ceremonial revival and, by the end of the decade, the nascent Gija painting movement. Bedford, however, settled into the role of important ceremonial elder. While this included painting for pedagogical and ceremonial purposes, he only took up painting for exhibition in 1997 at the encouragement of Tony Oliver, the Artistic Director of the newly formed Jirrawun Arts. Soon Bedford became their most celebrated painter. By the time of his death he was being championed as the most acclaimed Aboriginal artist since ...

Article

Rex Butler

(b 1955, Monto, Queensland; d June 3, 2014).

Australian Aboriginal painter. Bennett came to art late, after working throughout most of his 20s as a linesman for Telecom, he began studying at the Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, in 1986. He came to critical attention while still at art school, and just three years after graduating won the prestigious Moët et Chandon Australian Art Fellowship in 1991 with The Nine Ricochets (Fall Down Black Fella Jump Up White Fella) (1990). This important and extensively discussed work was a riposte to Imants Tillers’s The Nine Shots (1985), which appropriated from the work of the Western Desert artist Michael Nelson Tjakamarra. Bennett responded to Tillers by appropriating not only elements of Tillers’s own culture but also his method of appropriation itself. Throughout the 1990s, Bennett pursued an ambitious project of what could be called ‘contemporary history painting’, taking as his subject a series of colonial images and colonizing techniques, such as exploring, mapping and classifying. His aim was to open up a re-reading of Australian history, both to include an Aboriginal perspective and to show how Aborigines are taught to regard themselves in Western terms. Bennett has thought through this difficulty of representing Aborigines from his first works at art college, such as ...

Article

Carol Magee

(b Bulawayo, 1959).

Zimbabwean sculptor. Bickle studied at Durban University and Rhodes University. She showed extensively in Zimbabwe in the 1980s and exhibited in India, Sweden and New Zealand in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Active in the arts in Bulawayo, she was a founding member of its Visual Artists’ Association. Her pieces are philosophical, both specifically in that she cites Foucault and Yourcenar, and generically in that they comment on the human condition: on hopes, dreams, conflicts and fantasies. Made of multiple manufactured and natural materials, her simple forms speak to complex situations, as seen in A Carta de Gaspar Veloso I, in which writings on parchment are used in conjunction with maps to evoke colonial histories. Her work is in both private and public collections in the US, Britain and Europe.

Art from the Frontline: Contemporary Art from Southern Africa (Glasgow, 1990), p. 125 H. Lieros: ‘Earth, Water, Fire: Recent Works by Berry Bickle’, ...

Article

Bio Art  

Suzanne Anker

From Anatomical studies to landscape painting to the Biomorphism of Surrealism, the biological realm historically provided a significant resource for numerous artists. More recently, Bio Art became a term referring to intersecting domains that comprise advances in the biological sciences and their incorporation into the plastic arts. Of particular importance in works of Bio Art is to summon awareness of the ways in which the accelerating biomedical sciences alter social, ethical and cultural values in society.

Coming to the fore in the early 1990s Bio Art is neither media specific nor locally bounded. It is an international movement with practitioners in such regions as Europe, the US, Russia, Australia and the Americas. Several subgenres of Bio Art exist within this overarching term:

(i) Artists who employ the iconography of the 20th and 21st century sciences, including molecular and cellular genetics, transgenically altered living matter and reproductive technologies as well as the diverse fields of neuroscience. All traditional media such as painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and drawing are employed to convey novel ways of representing life forms. Images of chromosomes, the double helix, magnetic resonance imaging body scans and neuroanatomy comprise this iconography. The molecular underpinnings of the living world have also become visible through high technological instrumentation when artists incorporate such pictorialisations as part of their practice. Representations span both genotypic variations and phenotypic ones. Artists include Suzanne Anker (...

Article

Rory Spence

(b Newcastle, NSW, Aug 8, 1945).

Australian architect. He graduated from the University of Melbourne (1970) and worked for Daryl Jackson Evan Walker Architects before starting his own practice in 1972. Burgess’s architecture, inspired by esoteric literature, particularly Asian writings, and by the ideas of Rudolf Steiner, was concerned with human responses to form and space, the expansion of human consciousness and encouraging a sense of spiritual wholeness. He was also influenced by the Melbourne tradition of improvisatory ‘bush’ architecture and perhaps by the geometrical plans of such architects as Roy Grounds in the 1950s. Burgess’s buildings generally have strong, complex geometries, often combined with more intuitive organic forms, conveying a sense of spiritual struggle in a contradictory modern world. He designed many houses, often largely in timber, for example the Hackford House (1981), Traralgon, Victoria, with a central stair tower that symbolically links earth and sky. His many public commissions included several school buildings; the church of St Michael and St John (...

Article

David O’Halloran

(b Northern Ireland,1961).

Australian painter. Campbell fostered his interest in art at Footscray Technical College in 1979, before attending RMIT, where he completed a BA in Fine Art in 1982. He subsequently completed a Graduate Diploma in Painting at the Victorian College of the Arts in 1985. When Campbell commenced art school in 1980, new wave and punk were loud energetic subcultures in rock music. Punk music provided a sense that anyone could play, as a lack of technical skill did not preclude participation. Iconography from popular music appears throughout Campbell’s painting career, as does the ethos of a DIY suburban expression derived from rock and roll.

The history of pop is one that spans generations and Jon Campbell has a place among the particular history of Australian pop that includes John Brack, Colin Lancley Robert Rooney and Reg Mombassa. American painters such as Willard Midgette and Alex Katz, as well as British pop painter Peter Blake, were important influences on Campbell. At the time Campbell completed his studies in ...

Article

William McAloon

(b Upper Hutt, Oct 3, 1964).

New Zealand painter of Maori descent. Cotton studied at the University of Canterbury, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1988. He is prominent amongst a generation of Maori artists that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s including Michael Parekowhai (b 1968), Lisa Reihana (b 1964), and Peter Robinson, all of whom were schooled in contemporary Euro-American art styles and debates and then explored their Maori identities in relation to globalization and post-colonialism. Cotton’s early 1990s works were contemporary history paintings, locating New Zealand’s conflicted past firmly in a bicultural present. Drawing upon Maori figurative styles from the late 19th-century, particularly in meeting-houses inspired by the prophet and resistance leader Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, Cotton’s sepia-toned works juxtaposed these images with customary Maori carved forms, written Maori script, the coastal profiles of early European explorers, and appropriations from contemporary artists as diverse as Imants Tillers, Bridget Riley, and Haim Steinbach....

Article

Philip Goad

(b Melbourne, May 18, 1944).

Australian architect. After training with Bernard Joyce (b 1930) from 1967–71, he travelled overseas in 1971 to study Le Corbusier’s buildings. After his return in 1973 and a brief partnership with Max May (b 1941), Crone commenced private practice in 1977. His early works, the Huebner house (1974), Olinda, and Coakley house (1975), Hampton, were highly acclaimed examples of progressive domestic design in Melbourne. These concrete-block houses blended bold chamfered roof forms and angled glazing with a meticulous sense of detail and spatial manipulation. The later Porrit house (1978), Mt Martha, Briggs house (1979), Lancefield, and Robson house (1987), Point Lonsdale, employ abstracted vernacular forms similar to the transformed Corbusian vocabulary of American architect Charles Gwathmey. Major commissions that developed this regionalized Modernism include the Administration Building (1977) and Mater Christi College, Belgrave, Victoria; Visitor Information Centre (...

Article

Edward Hanfling

[William] (Franklin)

(b Port Chalmers, Jan 23, 1935).

New Zealand photographer, sculptor, installation artist, and painter, active also in France and Great Britain. Culbert consistently explored the workings of both natural and artificial light in his works, as well as the transformation of found objects and materials. A student at Hutt Valley High School, his artistic ability was fostered by the radical art educator James Coe. From 1953 to 1956, Culbert studied at the Canterbury University College School of Art in Christchurch. Moving to London in 1957 to attend the Royal College of Art, he became interested in the photographic works of László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, while his paintings were informed by Cubism. In 1961 Culbert moved to Croagnes in Provence, France; he remained in France and the UK for the rest of his career.

During 1967–8, Culbert shifted his focus from the analysis of form and light in painting to the analysis of actual light, often arranging light bulbs in grid formations. In ...

Article

Anna Rubbo

(b Melbourne, Sept 18, 1941).

Australian architect. She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1965, and from 1970 she worked as a sole practitioner in Melbourne. She developed an active association with community groups and professional bodies, both as a founding member of a free ‘store-front’ service to people unable to afford the services of architects and as a member of various committees and juries of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA). Her practice primarily involved residential and conservation schemes, including work of the Ministry of Housing, but she also designed community and commercial buildings. Work in the interstices of the inner city, carried out on a tight budget, was typical of a large part of her practice; the Elderly Citizens’ Centre (1984), Fitzroy, is an example. Here the new is compressed between two existing but disparate post-war buildings; while the autonomy of the older buildings is maintained, they are physically linked through the intervention and by an overlay of exaggerated 1950s detailing distilled from the two. Dance worked closely with clients to produce finely crafted results. She was the first woman architect to receive an RAIA medal for housing (...

Article

Paul Foss

(b Santiago, Oct 6, 1946).

Australian painter and performance artist of Chilean birth. He studied law and fine arts at the University of Chile. Following the coup of 1973, he arrived in Melbourne as a tourist after meeting an Australian in Buenos Aires, and later took up residence. He exhibited widely in Australia, Europe, and South America, returning frequently to Chile, which, thematically and politically, remained a focus for his art. He worked primarily with the quotation of cultural ephemera (e.g. newspaper photographs, advertisements, etc.). Originally noted for his adaptations of Pop art in an effort to rewrite the international history of painting from a provincial or Third World perspective, he increasingly developed a hybrid pictorial language that refused the strict confines of Modernism or Postmodernism, seen, for example, in Fable of Australian Painting (1982–1983; U. Sydney, Power Gal. Contemp. A.). His art deals with fragments, attempting to present a utopia of narrative from another place and time. In canvases such as ...

Article

Jim Barr and Mary Barr

(b Christchurch, NZ, Nov 6, 1948).

New Zealand sculptor. After graduating from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1973, Dawson taught drawing systems at Christchurch Polytechnic. In 1978 an exhibition titled House Alterations at the Brooke Gifford Art Gallery in Christchurch established him as a sculptor. It introduced a number of characteristics that continued to be significant in his work: the sculptures were constructed from mesh, wire and wood, they were hung on the wall and they played with aspects of perception as mediated by systems of drawing. In 1984, now a full-time sculptor, he was commissioned to produce a large, permanent outdoor work, The Rock, for the Bank of New Zealand in Wellington; it was one of a series of permanent or temporary site-specific projects.

Dawson was included in the exhibition Magiciens de la terre held at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1989. For the exhibition he constructed Globe, a hollow, fibreglass representation of the earth as photographed from outer space. It was suspended above the plaza outside the museum. The translation of photographic sources into sculpture, which he explored for ...

Article

Traudi Allen

(b Trieste, 1947).

Australian painter of Italian birth. De Clario became an Australian resident in 1956. He began to win art awards from his early 20s: the Italia Prize for painting (1969), the Perth International drawing Prize (1971), the Corio Prize for Painting, Geelong Art Gallery (1973), the Minnie Crouch Drawing Prize (1973), the Mildura Non-Permanent Sculpture Prize (1975), the University of NSW acquisitive prize (1987), and the University of Queensland Museum, National Artists’ Self Portrait Award (2011).

The conceptual thrust of his work has been expressed in painting and drawing and in performances with atleast part installation settings. His early interest in psychologically driven autobiography gave way to deconstructions of religious iconography, from the Catholicism of his Italian background to Hinduism and Buddhism. Performances have often centred on the artist, blindfolded to stress his role as medium, playing all night piano improvisations that stand as a trope for the temporal, visual, aural, and emotional sensations of mindful attention. His painting is also psychologically and spiritually orientated and translates his interest in the phenomenology of life to layers of physical paint....