Robert Hunter | Australia b.1947 | Untitled (detail) 1971 | Synthetic polymer paint | The James C Sourris, AM, Collection | © Robert Hunter 1971. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney, 2011 | Photograph: Carl Warner | Image courtesy: The artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane
Ten Years of Contemporary Art: The James C Sourris AM Collection | 12 November 2011 — 19 February 2012 | GOMA | Free admission
In 1967, Melbourne-based Robert Hunter was 20 and had been making abstract paintings for a year; that year he saw three Ad Reinhardt works at the Melbourne stop of the touring show ‘Two Decades of American Painting’. In May 1968, Hunter’s first solo exhibition at Tolarno Galleries, St Kilda, comprised 13 paintings on a similar implied grid of squares or circles. In contrast to Reinhardt’s inky blacks, Hunter’s paintings were in shades of white, and while Reinhardt obscured the edges of the shapes and planes, Hunter raised them with masking tape.
Hunter abandoned painting standard works on canvas in 1970. In the group show opening the new Richmond building of Melbourne gallery Pinacotheca, he exhibited six unmounted sheets of paper, each five-feet square and painted grey. Hunter’s individual show at the gallery the following month comprised 11 stencilled grey grids painted on the walls. The stencils were created from a lattice of masking tape around six-feet square and splashed from a paintbrush with diluted paint in shades of grey. This revealing touch of the artist’s hand causes shifts in the perception of each work’s geometry and its relationship to the wall. Hunter used the same format stencils for his work in the Second India Triennial in February 1971, at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.