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Richard Haese

[Michael] (Gordon Challis)

(b Sydney, May 8, 1938).

Australian painter and sculptor. He studied art at the East Sydney Technical College (1956–8) but left dissatisfied before completing the course. An important stage in his development was his discovery in 1959 of Australian Aboriginal art and the art of Melanesia and Polynesia, which he saw in New Zealand and on a visit to New Guinea in 1960 while working with the Australian Commonwealth Film Unit. In 1961–2 he lived in the Sydney suburb of Annandale with fellow artist Ross Crothall (b 1934) producing the first of his significant work. With Colin Lanceley the artists held two influential exhibitions in 1962 of painting, collages and assemblage, in Melbourne at the Museum of Modern Art and Design and in Sydney at the Rudy Komon Art Gallery, using the name Annandale Imitation Realists. They exploited discarded materials and disdained finish in a raw and irreverent art that mixed painting and sculpture, often collaborating on work. Imitation Realism was the first full expression of ...


Robert Smith

(b Melbourne, Oct 4, 1913; d Melbourne, July 5, 1986).

Australian painter, printmaker, draughtsman, sculptor, cartoonist and illustrator. Largely self-taught, he began printmaking in 1931 and worked as a caricaturist, cartoonist and illustrator for the weekly and left-wing press, his outlook influenced by experience on the dole and political struggle during the Depression. In 1941 he began oil painting, his first pictures being mainly a celebration of Australian working-class tenacity during the 1930s: for example At the Start of the March (1944; Sydney, A.G. NSW). A founder-member of the Contemporary Art Society in 1938, he initiated its 1942 anti-Fascist exhibition and helped organize an Artists’ Unity Congress, receiving awards for his paintings of miners in the ensuing Australia at War exhibition in 1945. From 1939 to 1940 he was in New Zealand and from 1949 to 1952 in Europe, mostly London. Later he made frequent trips to Britain and France, as well as visiting the USSR and Mexico.

Counihan’s imaginative and creative versatility enabled him to produce extended pictorial metaphors for inherent contemporary crises, embodying potent artistic responses to specific conditions of oppression and discrimination, the nuclear threat and attendant social alienation. From the late 1960s he created images in numerous interrelated series challenging Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, for example ...


Christine Clark

(b London, 1767; d Hobart, Tasmania, July 11, 1851).

English painter, printmaker and sculptor, active in Australia. In London he exhibited six portraits at the Royal Academy (1817–23) and three genre paintings at the British Institution and engraved two colour plates for George Morland, before moving to Hobart, Tasmania, in 1832. At the Hobart Mechanics’ Institute in 1833 he delivered the first lecture in Australia on the subject of painting. In 1849 he contributed the paper ‘The School of Athens as it Assimilates with the Mechanics Institution’ to a series of seven lectures (later published) delivered at the Institute. Duterrau painted landscapes and portraits but is best known for his works depicting the Aborigines of Tasmania and their traditional way of life. He was very interested in the events that led to the exclusion of the Aborigines from Tasmania, and in a series of works begun in 1834 but not executed until the early 1840s he showed George Augustus Robinson under commission from the Governor of Tasmania to restore peace with them. ...


A. K. C. Petersen

(b Bromley, Kent, March 3, 1899; d Auckland, Feb 18, 1987).

English painter, sculptor, potter and teacher, active in New Zealand. He studied from 1919 to 1924 at the Royal College of Art in London, where he first became interested in the modern movement in painting and experimented with direct carving. In 1925 he emigrated to New Zealand to take up a position at the King Edward Technical College, Dunedin. There he proved an influential teacher. He established the Six and Four Art Club, partly in response to the English 7 & 5 Society, and inspired several students who were to become leading New Zealand painters, notably Colin McCahon and M. T. Woollaston.

Mostly small-scale, Field’s work was experimental and helped to free art in New Zealand from representational values. Paintings such as Christ at the Well of Samaria (1929; Wellington, Mus. NZ, Te Papa Tongarewa) were striking for their pure colour and pointillist brushwork. Carvings such as Wahine (...


Barbara B. Kane


(b Sisteron, Provence, 1850; d Le Pave, St Léonard-de-Noblat, Haute Vienne, March 10, 1896).

French painter, sculptor, designer and teacher, active in Australia. He trained under the architect Viollet-le-Duc and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, under Jean-Léon Gérôme. In 1871 he was sentenced to death for his political activities in the Paris Commune; this was commuted to transportation to New Caledonia. He arrived in Sydney in 1879 after the granting of political amnesty. He was appointed instructor in modelling at the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts and in 1883 became the first lecturer in art at the Sydney Technical College. He also taught privately. His influence on a generation of students that included Lucien Dechaineux (1870–1957), later director of the Hobart Technical College, A. G. Reid, the sculptor, B. E. Minns (1864–1937) and Sydney Cathels, was profound. A founder-member of the Art Society of New South Wales, his frequent contributions to their exhibitions included portraits and busts. Henry sought to establish a national style in the applied arts through the use of distinctive colours and motifs based on native flora and fauna. His delight in the Australian shrub waratah is seen in the design for two large stained-glass windows in the Sydney Town Hall and in the curious designs for a folio of 50 graphic works to be entitled ...


(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 ...


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....


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....


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...


(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....


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. ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 (...


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 (...


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 ...


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)....



(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....


Robert Smith

(b Sydney, April 7, 1939; d Thirroul, nr Wollongong, June 15, 1992).

Australian painter, sculptor and printmaker . He was already preoccupied with art while at Scots School in Bathurst, for which he painted several murals c. 1955–6 on sporting themes; he later studied intermittently at the Julian Ashton School in Sydney (1957–9). He was awarded the Italian Travelling Scholarship in 1959 and spent some time in Italy before arriving in London in mid-1961, where he achieved fame when the exhibition Recent Australian Art, at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, included some of his latest works. His earlier work had shown the effects of sources such as Rembrandt, Honoré Daumier and William Dobell, but by this time he was painting in a boldly sensuous style of his own, emphasizing formal qualities and replete with erotic allusion. These elements were subsequently developed in his art, though becoming increasingly figurative, deployed to symbolize human estrangement and aspects of alternative lifestyle, while owing something to the work of Francis Bacon and the French ...