He was a man ahead of his time, but now Syd Ball is hailed as one of our great­est painters.

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - ARTS - WORDS LOUISE NUNN

SYD BALL IS tes­ta­ment to the ben­e­fits of stick­ing to your guns. Now hailed as a prophetic ge­nius and one of the great­est South Aus­tralian artists, Ball was orig­i­nally ridiculed when he gave Aus­tralian audiences one of their first tastes of hard-edged ab­stract art in the 1960s.

The 76-year-old is back in his home­town, at the Sam­stag Mu­seum, with Syd­ney Ball: The Colour Paint­ings 1963-2007, which in­cludes the Canto paint­ings which caused a furore when Ball ex­hib­ited them at the Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art Aus­tralia, Mel­bourne, in 1965. Ball’s per­fect cir­cles with bands of colour did not im­press many lo­cals who pre­ferred their pic­tures to be more ac­ces­si­ble. The up­roar sur­prised Ball, who had just re­turned from New York, where artists such as Mark Rothko, Willem de Koon­ing and Robert Mother­well were lead­ing the charge in ab­stract ex­pres­sion­ism. But An­tipodean at­ti­tudes weren’t about to stop him. “I thought, ‘this is what I do. I’m not go­ing to stop just be­cause peo­ple don’t like it’,” he says.

Ball went on to be­come one of Aus­tralia’s most ac­claimed artists. His in­ves­ti­ga­tions into colour – “it un­der­lies ev­ery­thing I’ve done” – in­flu­enced the work of younger artists, es­pe­cially in SA, where from 1965 to 1969 he taught at the SA School of Art.

The Sam­stag ret­ro­spec­tive, cu­rated by Anne Lox­ely for Pen­rith Re­gional Gallery, starts with the Canto se­ries, painted be­tween 1964 and 1966, moves on to the gen­eral ab­strac­tion of the Mod­u­lar and Stain works of 1968 to 1979, and ends with Ball’s re­turn to flat-colour in the Struc­ture se­ries, be­gun in 2002. Syd­ney Ball: The Colour Paint­ings 1963-2007, at the Sam­stag Mu­seum un­til Jan­uary 29.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.