Gareth Sansom: life and works

Gareth Sansom (born 19 November 1939) is an Australian artist, painter, printmaker and collagist and winner of the 2008 John McCaughey Memorial Prize of $100,000.

Best known for introducing other themes and subject-matter into Australian art and bodily one of the first Australian artists to be influenced by Pop art, particularly British Pop artists past Peter Blake, Allen Jones, Derek Boshier, Joe Tilson and the formal strategies of the post-modernist R. B. Kitaj. Another major Influence was and remains the British painter Francis Bacon. He was an associate of Brett Whiteley and there was a likely mutual influence. Sansom has had a Definite influence on subsequent Australian art, paving the quirk for higher notable artists such as Juan Davila and Howard Arkley. His put on an act is represented by the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Mertz Collection. His paintings are eclectic, studded in the same way as allusions both historical, cultural and personal. There is something more or less diaristic very nearly his work, but its presentation is all but linear and logical. Abiding themes are mortality, ageing, sexual identity, popular and puberty culture and cinema. There is with a strong element of humour, iconoclasm and irony in his work, from their titles, such as “Art Can’t Fart (for Rose Selavay)”, “Four Wise Men Looking for God in Abstract Art”, “Dr Fu Manchu’s Death by Gyro” or “Ship of Fools (Hello sailor!)” to comic and grotesque figurative elements and their sometimes lurid but highly definite colour schemes. On a technical level his paintings affix oils, enamels (both sprayed and applied considering brush) and collaged elements from personal photographs to objects stuck upon or painted over. Stylistically Sansom uses a broad array of painting techniques but signature devices tote up allowing earlier layers of paint to remain visible, hard-edge geometric shapes juxtaposed similar to playful, lyrical, more organic or atmospheric passages of paint and figurative “doodles”, often at the margins of the paintings.

See also  This is John McCrady

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