Biennale of Sydney 2010 – 156 Paintings, 156 Signs

Biennale of Sydney 2010 – 156 Paintings, 156 Signs


Robert MacPherson

Born 1937 in Brisbane, Australia  / Lives and works in Brisbane

For over 30 years, Australian artist Robert MacPherson has amassed a prodigious output that ranges from his abstract works of the mid-1970s, made in black and white with a common housepainter’s brush, to his text-based paintings of the 1980s and 1990s that consecrate the roadside vernacular of shop signs, placards and slang  xpressions.

“Chitters: A Wheelbarrow for Richard, 156 Paintings, 156 Signs” 1999–2000 emblazons landscape and gardening terminologies – ‘Mudgee loam’, ‘sand pit kits’, ‘dry stone walls’, ‘tree lopping’ – that he has seen on his travels through Australia and reproduced here.

MacPherson celebrates, in his own words, ‘a beautiful poetry in this, the constant repainting of signs and their textural effects, a wonderful directness of means and an unselfconsciousness in the use of paint often lost in so called high art.’


Some previous exhibitions by Robert MacPherson focussed on Australian signage


1999 exhibition

In his panorama of painted signs, Robert MacPherson takes an everyday outing on any Australian highway and turns it into a landscape of ordinary Australian dreams. Driving along in our cars, we scope the roadside for promises of comfort, for small luxuries. At the end of the day, will our hopes be justified?

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