Robert MacPherson

Mayfair: (August) Orange 4, for Julius Dodony, 1999-2002
Dulux weathershield acrylic on masonite
122 x 91 cm (each) – 4 panels


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Yuill/Crowley, Sydney
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Robert Macpherson The Painter’s Reach, Queensland Art Gallery/GOMA, Brisbane, 25 July – 18 October 2015, cat.28

I Periz, A Goddard, T Smith, E. McDonald, Robert Macpherson The Painter’s Reach, Brisbane, 2015 exh. cat., illus. p.119 & p.197

"Robert Macpherson is a direct and complex artist. Direct because the face value of his work is high and can exist without extrapolation; complex because he rewards patient and active looking with moments of quite revelation. While his works might draw on Australia - its occupants and their histories, its vernaculars and taxonomies - he invariably transcends the local, despite living and making art here in Brisbane for over four decades.

One of Australia's most important and resilient artists, whose practice deliberates on the conceptual possibilities of the act of painting and revels in the multitude of languages and arenas that art can make visible, Macpherson extracts surprising and universal meanings from the prosaic and the parochial." (Chris Saines, Robert Macpherson The Painter’s Reach, Brisbane, 2015 exh. cat., p.11)

  • Mayfair: (August) Orange 4, for Julius Dodony

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Robert MacPherson's paintings, sculptures and installations can be seen as lively investigations into the language of Modernism. Incorporating the styles and motifs of roadsign signage, slang expressions and hand painted shop placards, MacPherson's work is often created using the humblest of materials, such as paint-brushes, pots, socks, shovels and blankets. Through these modest domestic materials, MacPherson creates works that are strikingly beautiful, humorous and decisively Australian: works that highlight the poetry of the everyday.

Born in Queensland in 1937, MacPherson worked as a ship painted in the 1960s before travelling extensively throughout Europe and the US during the 1970s, where he took in the history of modern art and began assimilating that knowledge into his own work. Interested in the environment and farming, his works frequently reference elements of nature and working the land in a variety of ways, from portraits of drovers and cattlemen through to large-scale text paintings and installations that reference agricultural work.

MacPherson's work has been the subject of several survey exhibitions, including his first in 1995 at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and, in 2001, a major survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. In 2018-19, the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, exhibited BOSS DROVERS (1996-2014), an immense work of 2400 drawings all executed in the name of his alter ego, a Year 4 student named Robert Pene, with each work dated 14 February 1947 and stained to add to the illusion.