Robert MacPherson’s work is often positioned against the historically pervasive national traditions in Australian art of landscape painting and heroic narrative. His works evoking landscape and important figures are tinged with irony, and attempt to look beyond stereotype and jingoism. Yet still they suggest something specifically Australian – whether it is language, food or cultural practices.
As well as implying a humorous and sceptical attitude to the idea of a national art, this parade of ‘Queenslands’ ironically resembles shaped, hard-edged minimalist paintings of the 1960s and 1970s, and their serial elements convey many different permutations of painting and construction.
‘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.