Vale: Sydney Ball


Adelaide-born abstract painter Sydney Ball (1933–2017) passed away in March, Ball moved to New York in 1962 where, through his studies, he was exposed to the rise of Abstract Expressionism, rubbing shoulders with Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell and Willem de Kooning.

Returning to Australia three years later, he helped to bring hard-edge abstraction to the attention of Australian artists. In 1968, his work was an essential part of the influential exhibition ‘The Field’ at the National Gallery of Victoria. The subject of more than 70 solo exhibitions, Ball is represented in collections nationally and internationally.

Sydney Ball, Australia 1933-2017 / Byron Spring 1980 / Screenprint on wove paper / Purchased 1981 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

His vitality and interest defined him; as Artshub’s Gina Fairley writes, he was always planning his next work with an infectious enthusiasm. Sydney Ball is remembered as a great teacher and phenomenal artist, whose legacy changed Australia’s art vision in the 1960s and will continue to influence future generations.1

1 Text drawn from Gina Fairley, ‘Vale Sydney Ball’, 6 March 2017, vale-sydney-ball-253306, accessed 9 March 2017.

Sydney Ball, Australia 1933-2017 / Pawnee summer 1973 / Synthetic polymer paint and enamel on cotton canvas / Acquired 1973 with the assistance of an Australian Government Grant through the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council. Trustees’ Prize (winning entry) / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © QAGOMA

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