Study for Boy Looking at a Ship, 1998
oil on canvas
signed and dated 'Rick Amor 99' (lower right)
Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
Private Collection, Sydney
A study for Amor indicates a half-size canvas – a smaller work of no less stilling and totemic presence. In this ‘Study for Boy looking at a Ship’, a lone boy runs along a wharf. The monumental figure of a ship rises up before him – as ominous as the sea and sky from which it materialises. There is a wildness about the scene and its landscape that cannot be separated from the feelings it provokes.
The beautifully calibrated scale of this image – the smallness of the boy and vast horizon – seems to translate a poignant remembrance of the vivid experiences of youth and their force of presence later in life.
‘Amor imagines his subjects like dream narratives and seeks to preserves the mobile and disembodied quality of memory.’ (Christopher Allen, 2009)
Rick Amor is inspired by dreams and memories and seeks out subjects to fit his paintings in plein air studies. These elements are 'all assembled to reinvent my memory', he says. His work is draws on urban and suburban mythology.
Recalling his childhood in Frankston, Victoria - a small beachside town at the end of the railway line - Amor says 'There were always things washed up, strange objects. People drowning and storms blowing up. The weather in my paintings comes from those early experiences. I still dream about them.'
Born in Frankston, Victoria in 1948, Rick Amor lives and works in Melbourne. He trained in Melbourne at Caulfield from 1965, then the National Gallery School to 1968, where teacher John Brack and student Jeffrey Bren were noted influences. Amor has been represented by Niagara Galleries, Melbourne since 1983.
A survey of Amor's paintings was assembled by the McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park, Victoria in 1990 and toured various regional galleries in Victoria and South Australia to 1991. In 1993 an exhibition of Amor's prints and works on paper, mounted by the Bendigo Art Gallery, toured Victoria and Tasmania. In 1999 Amor was an official war artist to East Timor, Australia's first appointment since the Vietnam War. In 2002 a survey of Amor's bronze sculpture was presented at the Benalla Art Gallery. In 2005 the McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park, Victoria presented 'Rick Amor: Standing in the Shadows', which focused on Amor's early work, his portraits and self-portraits and, in 2007 Amor was the recipient of the McClelland Award for Sculpture. The major survey 'Rick Amor: A Single Mind' was presented at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne in 2008 looking at paintings and drawings dating from 1966. In 2001 The Miegunyah Press published 'The Solitary Watcher: Rick Amor and his Art', a biography by Gary Catalano and, in 2008 The Beagle Press published the monograph 'Rick Amor' by Gavin Fry.