Understanding the work of Robert MacPherson

There is all sorts of ways to approach and interact with the present-day art of our instances. It can be practical to get started with an artwork’s physical variety, its size, the components from which it is built, or even how the various things relate to every other.

Brisbane-born painter Robert MacPherson (1937–2021) was a single of Australia’s most considerable artists and identified inspiration in everyday lifetime, which include in the slang words and scientific terms that we generally choose for granted.

Samantha Littley, Curator Australian Art at QAGOMA explores a significantly-loved artwork by MacPherson in our Collection, Mayfair: (Swamp rats) ninety-seven indications for C.P., J.P., B.W., G.W. & R.W. 1994–95, in which MacPherson riffs on the hand-painted indicators that surface on the verges of our nation’s byroads and highways.

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Robert MacPherson ‘Mayfair: (Swamp rats) Ninety-7 signals for C.P., J.P., B.W., G.W. & R.W.’ 1994-95

MacPherson’s Mayfair: (Swamp rats) Ninety-7 signs for C.P., J.P., B.W., G.W. & R.W. consists of 75 masonite panels painted in the manner of dwelling-made roadside advertisements. The artist explores fundamental aspects of the indicating and creating of art, his solution to making artwork virtually usually involves the use of multiples, a sequence of identical or equivalent objects, in this instance repeating a single normal-sized unit with unique inscriptions and versions of qualifications tone, organized as a grid.

As a conceptual artist, MacPherson has dedicated his profession to questioning what it is, in essence, that will make a do the job of art. In this too much to handle block of painted language, meaning is fractured, and you may well just interpret it visually as an abstract impression, on the other hand this monumental portray is devoted to a team of persons (determined in the title by their initials: C.P., J.P., B.W., G.W. & R.W.) who are fishermen, or ‘swamp rats’, inhabiting the marshy zone around the mouth of the Brisbane River.

Robert MacPherson, Australia 1937-2021 / Mayfair: (Swamp rats) Ninety-7 symptoms for C.P., J.P., B.W., G.W. & R.W. (and information) 1994-95 / Acrylic on masonite / 97 panels: 92 x 61cm (just about every) 370 x 1573cm or 556 x 1069cm (set up) / Bought 1998 with a unique allocation from the Queensland Govt. Celebrating the Queensland Art Gallery’s Centenary 1895-1995 / Selection: Queensland Artwork Gallery | Gallery of Modern-day Art / © Robert MacPherson

Check out Robert MacPherson’s Mayfair: (Swamp rats) Ninety-seven symptoms for C.P., J.P., B.W., G.W. & R.W. in the Queensland Art Gallery Lobby until finally 27 November 2022.