I visited the Robert MacPherson Exhibition ‘Painters Reach now viewing at the Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane last week. MacPherson is an Australian painter who has had a 50 year career with his art. He is viewed as a visionary Australian conceptual artist (artists/robert-macpherson – 114323). The Exhibition includes over 65 works. Director Chris Saines (blog.qagoma.qld.gov.au/robert-macpherson-the-painters-reach-opens/)comments that “As one of Australia’s most important and resilient artists, MacPherson’s practice expands on the conceptual possibilities of the act of painting and revels in the multitude of languages, systems and processes that art can make visible.” Exhibition Curator Ingrid Periz(USA) said that MacPherson’s work is concerning with the practice of art making and goes on to say (blog.qagoma) that “MacPherson’s work is fuelled by a series of questions around the artist’s role, as well as the function and effect of the naming. These questions,combined with an innate sense of material that is to hand – a paintbrush, a printed packet, a painted road sign – ensures a reach that begins with the particular and extends far beyond.”
The exhibition includes work from the 1970s and this work really resonated with me MacPherson did a series of black and white paintings of simple wide paint strokes – long and narrow with varying degrees of black. I liked the linear qualities and the absence of colour. Another piece from this era that appealed was “David Reed#90” which was oil and alkyd on linen again in black and white with household paint brush type strips.
I found the work based on “Peerless” Dry Cleaners fascinating. MacPherson took the different ways the staff described and sorted the colours of garments. He framed the “Peerless” receipt and exhibited it alongside a number of canvasses and white shirts stained with paint with colours inspired by the naming and order of the clothes listed on the receipt.
MacPherson’s interest in language resulted in another theme I found interesting which was his painted words taken from non professional roadsigns observed throughout Brisbane e.g. “Laming-ton Drive”, “Theres no rough ends to our pineapples”, “Palms with the ‘s’ backwards and “Dance 7pm Sat”.
His works have been acquired by all Australian major public galleries and several overseas. A book has been published by QA/GOMA – “Robert MacPherson The Painter’s Reach, 2015.