Robert MacPherson: THREE PAINTINGS
Thursday 15 October 2015 Share FacebookDelicious Email

Robert MacPherson: The Painter's Reach GOMA

Robert MacPherson:The Painter's ReachGOMA

Robert MacPherson:The Painter's ReachGOMARobert MacPherson, Australia b.1937 / THREE PAINTINGS 1981 / Three paintbrushes, three typewritten texts / Collection: The artist / Courtesy: Yuill | Crowley, Sydney / © The artist

The reductive logic that MacPherson applied to his painting practice in the 1970s is applied here to his tool, the standard house painter’s brush. Examining it closely and considering its history, MacPherson traces a backwards path from use, to purchase, to manufacture and sees that the paintbrush is already a painted object. He relinquishes the need to continue using the brush to make a painting. It is enough for him to display a paintbrush as a painting.

WHEN I DIP THE BRUSH IN PAINT
THE BRISTLES BECOME COATED WITH
PAINT ANY MOVE BEYOND THIS
POINT IS SUPERFLUOUS

WHEN I PURCHASE THE BRUSH THE
HANDLE HAS BEEN COVERED WITH
PAINT BY THE MANUFACTURER ANY
MOVE BEYOND THIS IS
SUPERFLUOUS

DURING THE MANUFACTURE OF THE
BRUSH THE HANDLE IS COATED WITH
PAINT ANY MOVE BEYOND THIS
POINT IS SUPERFLUOUS

This realisation helps prompt MacPherson’s withdrawal from painting as an activity of paint application. At the same time, this pairing of object and text will structure much of his subsequent work, as in the Frog Poem series.

The Painter’s Reach‘ currently at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) until Sunday 18 October explores the work of MacPherson and includes paintings, installations, ephemera and works on paper, showing how the artist’s reach begins with the particular and extends far beyond.