Tony Tuckson

Black, Grey, White

Black, Grey, White by Tony Tuckson

Artwork Detail

For many years as deputy director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Tony Tuckson was something of a secret painter. He held his first solo exhibition in 1970, surveying his work of the previous decade, and his second, of recent paintings including Black, grey, white, in 1973, six months before his death. Tuckson didn't wish to be seen to be competing with the contemporary Australian artists whose works he was charged with collecting. Also amongst Tuckson's collecting responsibilities was Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. An acceptance of indigenous art as other than ethnographical evidence was profoundly new in Australia, and Tuckson's collecting laid a significant foundation for the future. His exposure to indigenous Australian art had a profound impact on his own painting, shifting his interest away from American abstract expressionism into something more local. In Black, grey, white Tuckson's gestural approach to mark-making and his reduced palette recall Aboriginal body painting for ritual occasions. The performative nature of those rituals is also reflected in Tuckson's work; his hardboard sheets are a field for a series of intricately choreographed gestures. If Tuckson's 1973 exhibition, announced 'the best Action Painter in Australia', his paintings also offered an ideal of reconciliation. 'They are Dreamings', Daniel Thomas has written, 'about a country's most bruising issue: how to live decently in Australia'. (from The Guide 2001)

Black, Grey, White
Tony Tuckson
Production date
synthetic polymer paint on hardboard
2135 x 2440 mm
Credit line
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 1995
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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