19th & 20th Century Fine Australian and International Art, Deutscher~Menzies, Melbourne, 28 November 2001, Lot No. 73
Private collection, Melbourne
Private collection, Sydney
‘The difficulty of giving any simple verbal account of ‘how’ the forms and planes in a Whisson painting sit in relation to one another, underscores the complex mode of ‘seeing’ involved in their rendering. It is a kind of visualizing that loses everything in translation. It claims a level of compressed mental attention and simultaneity of awareness, such as poetry does over prose.’ (Bernice Murphy, ‘Ken Whisson Paintings, 1957 – 1985’, The Broken Hill Art Gallery, 1985, p. 14
'Car and Driver' is an important image painted by Whisson, whilst living in St. Kilda during the early-mid 1970s. Playing with images of cars, boats on the bay, the esplanade and the general hustle and bustle of this cosmopolitan suburb, images from this time have been drawn from memory regularly, reappearing in Whisson’s work over the decades.
Of course this is a recognisable landscape vignette – painted in Whisson’s own combination of linear and graphic abstraction – where the sense of foreground, middle and background is not clearly defined. Instead, single point and topographic perspectives coalesce and trailing yellow and black lines seem to represent a ‘stream of consciousness’ running throughout.
This is an image of ceaseless movement, in which we find motifs roving across the scene. Clouds, shapes and colours all describe the heightened experience of a sun-drenched drive. Just as one wouldn’t expect Whisson’s driver to have a static experience of motoring through a landscape, one can’t expect Whisson’s expression of the subject to be static.