In the ever-percolating art world one genre, artist, culture or medium can come to the fore and take the stage as the ‘next big thing’. But sometimes an artist whose intrinsically fascinating work has already been appreciated throughout the decades comes to light anew.
Australian conceptual artist Peter Tyndall is ready for his close up once more: his status as one of the country’s most important late 20th-century painters is underscored by a new exhibition that curates his work throughout the decades, from the early '70s to the present day.
The Anna Schwartz Gallery at the Carriageworks Arts Centre, a vast industrial space in Sydney’s inner city, has commissioned a personal friend of the artist’s from the late 1960s to curate. Doug Hall, former Queensland Art Gallery director, allows the observer to follow the narrative arc of Tyndall’s distinctive pictorial iconography from the maze-like busyness of his black-and-white work in the '70s, to the more starkly graphic symbolism and pop colour of the nineties and boldly simplistic figurative work of the noughties.
The one thing that remains eternal is each work’s title, which is always A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/someone looks at something.... Tyndall rejects the fundamental status quo of individual titles in favour of describing the overall act that occurs with each painting – observation and the meaning we then attach to it. He also eschews the traditional exhibition bio as another “convention that irks”. As the bio is a ‘construction’, Tyndall will only craft one as a one-off enhancement of a particular show.
Stripped of the usual props, it is the intrinsic work of art that contains, as Hall puts it, “all that we were required to know” – the act of subjective observation completing a reciprocal circle of connection. Texts, logos, symbols, rectangles, graphics and figures are subject to the intuitive and intellectual appreciation of the viewer, who brings their own morass of associations and assessments.
Thanks to Schwartz’s passion for gathering works by an artist hung in Australia’s most prestigious national galleries, other generations can enjoy the wry rejection of convention by an elder of the local art tribe – who is also one of the art community's liveliest bloggers: blogging something…
The exhibition runs from November 21st – December 22nd, 2012.