Influences – Geoffrey Bardon

Geoffrey Bardon
I was at Art School with Geoff and thought he was the right person at
the right time when he went as a teacher to Papunya, NT. Through his
writing and promotion of the art of the western desert I have deepened
my interest in Aboriginal art and the art of the South Pacific. Using
unsophisticated materials and simple forms, intricate and delicate art
is being made and is developing into new forms still based on
tradition. The work of John Mawurndjul is an example of this new
form.

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Influences – Nicholas De Stael

The sumptuous oil paintings of Nicholas de Stael that distill a
landscape, or still-life objects so vividly, first impressed me when I
saw a couple of them at the National Gallery of Victoria in the early
60s. I saw his retrospective show in Paris in 2003 and the power of his
late work still takes my breath away. They are so deft without being
trite, and have a great feeling of serenity about them.

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Influences – Mondrian

Mondrian painted single blooms of flowers throughout his life. He did
not exhibit them but they showed, unlike his other work, a great depth
of feeling. As David Shapiro says, “There is in the flowers,
observation, tact and reserve, there is architecture and geometry, and
there is also the memory of a dream. They speak of love and death,
tenderness and cruelty, joy and sadness.” To be able to express so
much with such a singular motif is something I aspire to.

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Influences – Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi
Morandi’s paintings have been described as “works that remain
ineloquent, mute with no urgent communication to make, and no
thought of rousing with look or gesture. If they express anything it is
character, essence rather than momentary feeling or purpose. They
manifest potentiality rather than activity. It is enough that they exist in
themselves”. Morandi spent most of his life living and working in a
small apartment shared with his three sisters. It is work that is so
unassuming it takes one by surprise. The very modesty of his
paintings puts most other work to shame. Modesty is a virtue I aspire
to which ties in with my themes of stillness, quietness, simplicity and
the understated, as the American architect Mies van der Rohe said,
“less is more”.

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Influences – David Hockney

David Hockney
His simple line drawings show his skill in choosing the right medium
for each person, gritty pen lines or soft charcoal. He believes the
portrait should always be done in the presence of the sitter. Also that
it is important to have recourse to information gathered from past
experience in conjunction with the evidence of the moment. His
portraits reflect a personal intimate side of his art as their subjects are
almost always friends and family. I have made many drawings of my
family including some of my sister when she was very ill. Working as
artist-in-residence at John Hunter Hospital in the Neo-natal Intensive
Care Unit and drawing the tiny babies there was one of the highlights
of my art practice. Working at the Hospital extended and intensified
my desire to use portrait drawing as a tool in the Arts-for-Health
program because it’s a way of honoring a person whatever
circumstances they find themselves in.

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Influences – Clarice Beckett

Her life story inspires me as she just kept going despite the difficulty
of looking after elderly parents and not having any critical success..
“Any one of Clarice Beckett’s paintings “ache with feelings” and,
unusually for her time, she painted hard objects of speed – cars, buses,
motor cycles. Yet she painted in a languid manner which speaks of the
still-undisclosed fluidity of the fourth dimension. Her work is always
of a particular time and place and captures the memory and the essence
of a time and era now past. With her dreamy, heavily atmospheric
style, she has left us not merely a record of Beaumaris, Port Phillip
Bay – where she lived and painted – but also captured a particular hour
on a particular day that would never be repeated. I am interested in
transience and the moment things have their time before they fade.

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Influences – Lloyd Rees

Lloyd Rees’ drawings illustrate what he says about drawing – “Good drawing
is expressive drawing. It reveals what the artist is thinking and feeling
concerning his subject and a creation separate and apart from the
subject which inspired it. In the hands of a master a line may be a
living vibrant thing throughout its entire length, suggesting and
emphasising by its character the form movement and texture of the
object it duplicated”.

I like the fact that Rees went back to the same places time again. He
really absorbed a place. You can see this in his work. For the last ten
years I’ve been living in Newcastle, I’ve been drawing the local built
environment as it changes and reinvents itself. It’s a city of contrasts –
heavy industry adjacent to both pristine beaches and rural landscape,
with new structures going up alongside some of the finest 19th century
architecture left in NSW.

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Influences – Paul Klee

Paul Klee’s influence was to do with his stress on the importance of the
creative PROCESS believing that it is ultimately the process that is
communicated. I strongly agree with this. He said, “In simplicity too
there can be riches, this should give us the courage to be simple”. The
group of paintings he did while in North Africa had a big influence on
my watercolour paintings. His use of colours, especially bright clear
colours and patterns taught me how to apply colour and how to
juxtapose primaries with subtle tertiaries.

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Influences – Rembrand

Rembrandt’s pen drawings of the Dutch landscape, his figure
drawings and his studies of shells have been a great source of pleasure.
As a child I saw one of his portraits in the National Gallery of Victoria
and I think this gave me the attentiveness to observe faces and look at
portraits. In 1986 I started doing portraits in a retirement village in
Nelson Bay. My first portraits of older people helped me learn about
the subject as there was no posing or faking the appearance. It was true
life with no pretense. This was when I first experienced the privilege
of being really attentive to each person. As I explored the uniqueness
in them through the shadows and tiny subtleties made by a life-time of
experiences, I found that books of Rembrandt’s works were a constant
source of inspiration as he was a true master at uncovering the truth,
frailty and unique beauty in the human face.

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Influences – Brett Whiteley

Brett Whiteley
After returning to Australia (1985) from Fiji I was influenced by
Whiteley’s paintings of Fiji and also his lyrical drawings of the South
Coast and Lavender Bay, his use of reed pens and strong brush
drawings in ink together with his striking black and white portraits. A
quote of his referring to his later drawings in Paris was, “What one is
after is a high octane visual poetic journalism, brief, essential and
above all FRESH”. I enjoy looking at artists’ sketchbooks for that
reason – they are always fresh! I like them more then finished work
and find when I try to re-do drawings they often just die.

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