PROFILE

ROBERT BOYNES

(b. 1942. Adelaide, SA, Australia)

Robert Boynes was already a respected, mid-career artist when he had his first solo exhibition with

Access Contemporary Art Gallery in 1996, Brenda May Gallery’s former incarnation. This association

has resulted in over thirteen solo shows of Boynes’s paintings with the Gallery over the last twenty

years. A testament to the success of his career, Boynes has work held in every major art collection

across Australia, a number of international institutions, corporate bodies, private collectors and many

Australian Regional Galleries. These impressive collections include, but are not limited to, the Museum

of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the

Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia,

the Tasmania Museum & Art Gallery, the Queensland Art Gallery, the Australian War Memorial, Manly

Art Gallery & Museum, Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, the Canberra Museum & Art Gallery,

Wollongong City Gallery, the Australia Council and Artbank.

Boynes began 2015 at Art Stage Singapore with his multipanel installation ‘Long Take – Slow

Dissolve’. This exhibition encapsulated the aesthetic and energy of a contemporary, urban

environment across fifteen canvases, imaging no particular place and therefore lending the strip to

reflect any modern metropolis. He also had two works from the collections of the Art Gallery of New

South Wales (AGNSW) and the National Gallery of Victoria exhibited in the blockbuster exhibition ‘Pop

to Popism’ (2014 – 2015) at the AGNSW, Sydney. 2015 also saw the triptych 'Blind Leading the

Blind' from his 2015 solo show ‘In Plain Sight’, as well as the major work 'Auto Sex' from the 1960s,

enter the permanent collection of the AGNSW.

Boynes’s career has already spanned five decades, accommodating three aesthetically distinctive

periods, each making astute comments about contemporary society. Taking cues from his time spent

in London, Boynes’s work in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s reflected the neo-pop era,

interrogating the allure of consumerism. A physical move to Canberra saw Boynes’s work shift

visually, as his previous shallow depth of field and flat, restricted surfaces were replaced with lush

painterly ones. Influenced by a trip to Los Angeles, these works were often desolate, but anxious, and

began Boynes’s thematic fascination with the city. In the 1990’s Boynes returned to a stripped back

surface, imaging lonely crowds of shadowed figures and epic topographical maps of urban

environments. Boynes’s work in the 2000’s captured monitoring devices and perversion, and his most

recent works have visualised a perspectival “zooming-in” of subject matter, from the vast aerial

views, implicating the hum and chaos of the city, to the people and sights that occupy it. Capturing a

sense of motion and flux, each canvas stands alone as a fleeting moment or can be configured with

others to create storyboards of filmic ‘frames’.

Text by Olivia Welch