Displays From The State Art Collection


Your Collection 1960 - 1980; ANything Goes

Max Pam
Shadow Series (detail from the series of 26) 1971-1972
silver gelatin photographic prints
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Gift of Dr Jann Marshall, 2002

Your Collection 1960–1980, brings together a diverse range of Western Australian, national and international art mirroring the period’s eclecticism. The legacy of Modernism is still apparent but is energised by the emergence of the new creative fields of Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Post-Modernism.

Indigenous art rose to national prominence in this period as fine examples of material culture produced across Australia started to be appreciated for their artistic value. In particular, artists in Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands depicted the creation of the landscape and the importance of ceremony through custodial techniques and applications on traditional materials such as bark and carved objects. In the Central Desert, artists began to paint ceremony, story, law and systems of belief. In the country’s south-west, younger artists housed in missions mastered Western drawing techniques and used these to find new ways of representing their Country.

The strong tradition of landscape painting that flourished in Australia through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries continues in this period. We see prominent Australian artists such as Russell Drysdale, Robert Juniper, Howard Taylor and Fred Williams consolidate their different views of the landscape, while Sidney Nolan pushes the boundaries of scale and experience to envelop the viewer within his rocky desert vistas.

At the same time, artists such as Tom Gibbons and Miriam Stannage produced works inspired by both Pop and Conceptual Art. The critical spirit of these artists is twinned by the works by Robert Rooney, whose abstract painting based on a knitting pattern offers a tongue-in-cheek riposte to the dictates of American post-expressionism; Carol Rudyard offers a personal analysis of the public and private status of art; while John Nixon’s work looks at the architectural and social conditions of our artistic experiences.

Other artists, such as Alexander Calder, Ian Fairweather and Allan Jones, take the lyrical play of form as their subject. The figurative focus of Jones’ leggy sculpture highlights the ongoing significance of the human form as a subject for art making, as do some of the Collection’s most celebrated paintings by John Brack, Lucien Freud and, although less immediately evidently, Robert MacPherson.


Richard Larter
Offside semi concise regimen 1977
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
184 x 122 cm
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Gift of Ian and Sue Bernadt, 2006
© Richard Larter

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Last reviewed 26 February 2013

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