8 – 25 November 2018
about the exhibition
Robert Boynes is a consummate master of both technique and observation. Consisting largely of studies of the human figure located within unspecified urban environments, his work focuses on the anonymity of much contemporary social interaction. He projects the sounds, codes and cultural bonds found in our shared spaces and streetscapes. The core of the show reflects observations Robert made while travelling in Italy late last year where he experienced the sheer volume of people “passing through” Italy at the time. The fragmented, almost ephemeral, figures in Robert’s work reflect the transient reality of displaced peoples. Rather than taking a moral perspective on this condition, Robert consciously maintains a critical distance from his subjects. As a result, his images incorporate a multiplicity of references to cinema, televised news coverage and closed circuit TV footage. Robert transposes this raw material into exhilarating paintings which remind us that modernity is an amalgam of the impersonal and the intimate. Some of these works focus on the private and domestic, a reflection on internal thoughts and local matters. Others are more global in nature, portraying large scale social and environmental events. The pairing of these two positions places the individual into a global framework. These paintings stay with us as flashes of memory, like rapid bursts of light that resonate after the eyes are closed.
Born in Adelaide, Robert studied at the South Australian School of Art in the early 1960s and began teaching in 1964. He was Head of Painting at the Canberra School of Art for 27 years and is currently Adjunct Associate Professor at the ANU School of Art. Robert has an extensive exhibition history and has had over 60 solo shows across Australia, the UK and USA. In 2017 the Drill Hall Gallery at the Australian National University held an extensive survey show of his work displaying the expanse of his practice. His work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia as well as all Australian State Galleries, Parliament House, Artbank, Canberra Museum and Gallery and ACT Legislative Assembly.