14 October - 1 November 2004
about the exhibition
Over four decades, Robert Boynes has developed a pictorial language to convey social and environmental concerns. His visual response to the world around him has always been an immediate and honest one and, in his paintings, layers of meaning exist somewhere between the abstract mark and the figurative image. Robert uses the photographic image as a form of sketchbook notation, creating from it a screenprint that triggers a rigorous painting process. Acrylic paint is applied and washed back, revealing hidden forms and colours. The luminous, dream-like qualities of the paintings are further amplified by the process of layering. Vibrant colour, gestural movement and photographic imagery lure the viewer into a complex cityscape. These paintings stay with us as flashes of memory, like rapid bursts of light that resonate after the eyes are closed. “My painting is strongly influenced by the conventions of cinema, which allow me to put together fragments, cuts and dissolves, delivering a ‘movie’ in several frames. This process creates tensions, expectations and narratives, which allow us to reflect upon these invented moments. …. But even though each image contains the suggestion of a narrative – conveyed by the motion of figures, the way in which they relate and the ‘noise’ of urban colour, surfaces and signage – in the end I want the work to be a space for contemplation.”
Born in Adelaide, Robert studied at the South Australian School of Art in the early 1960s and began teaching in 1964. He has been Head of Painting at the Canberra School of Art for over twenty years. His work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia as well as all Australian State Galleries, Parliament House (Canberra), Artbank, Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, USA), Sears Roebuck (USA) and the Mertz Collection (USA). In 2002, his work was included in a select group exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia entitled “Tales of the Unexpected: aspects of contemporary Australian art”. The show was curated by Dr Deborah Hart and recognised the work of some of Australia’s established and most inspired modern artists. Robert has an extensive exhibition history dating back to the mid-1960s and has had over 50 solo shows across Australia, the UK and USA.