Gunter Christmann

Art Life , Exhibitions Sep 05, 2014 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

Berlin-born Australian artist Gunter Christmann (1936–2013) first came to prominence in 1968’s The Field exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria where the “delicate, unassertive balance” of his colour field work was first compared with that of Matisse. Christmann died late last year prior to the opening of a fifty-year retrospective of his life’s work now on display at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Victoria. In the year before he died, Christmann produced a number of acrylic paintings, a selection of which are now on exhibition in Sydney.


During his long career, Christmann danced between different styles and influences. Drawing on his close surroundings for inspiration, he often employed a ‘shuffle box’ technique using things picked up on the street to create a “complete and contained universe” within each canvas. Many of this latest series of abstractions sees him marry his own style with art historical influences – the Joan Miro-styled Dancer is created with an outline of black flex cuff (or plastic handcuff) shapes which also make an appearance in several other paintings, along with the basic circles and rectangles reminiscent of the Russian suprematists. Kings X Flexi Cuffs swings lightly between abstraction and figuration as a face emerges from an otherwise indefinite composition.

Until October 4
The Commercial, Redfern
Pic: Gunter Christmann, Morning Meet, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50 x 2 cm. Courtesy the Estate of Gunter Christmann and The Commercial Gallery. Photo: Jessica Maurer.

Sharne Wolff

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