Kevin Robertson: An Overview

Link to Figuration in the West exhibition 2006

Link to Cloud Paintings - web page 2006

Link to Solo Exhibition Cloud Paintings 2002 / 2003: 25 May to 19 June 2003

Read full Biographical Information (Updated January 2003)

  • Kevin Robertson
  • was born in Norseman, Western Australia in 1964.
    He has a Bachelor of Arts from Curtin University and was awarded a Master of Arts from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales in 1992.
    He has had four solo exhibitions at Galerie Düsseldorf and participated in numerous group exhibitions including: Down in Splendour, Gallery 460, Gosford, NSW, 2000; A Face in the Crowd, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT, 1997; and Oddfellows, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, WA, 1996, which toured nationally to nine venues.
    Kevin has received numerous awards and commissions for his work and is included in many public and private collections nationally

  • Physical substance
  • Self-Portrait 1999 Oil on Board 20 x 20cm Private Collection
  • Looking back I am re-awakened to these images and it is renewing my desire to push forward.When I do have a clear idea of where I am heading, I move with all the force, determination and focus I can assume.
  • In certain states, I realise that what I am viewing at that moment can be a painting, and it is something new and yet connected to all the other things I have done I am my own audience, I am in conversation with myself again, and now I remember what it was I really wanted to do. Nature and the figure keep returning and I loved these themes before art school, before I knew of Courbet and Vuillard.
  • Painting itself is often used as an analogy, which implies it has a meaning beyond its physical substance. It is not only a medium, but also a kind of thinking, like writing.You can spend years thinking about something like tone and still only understand it a little. In this way it is more like music, inexhaustible in what you can do with it. Painting, it is a way of apprehending an image without tricks, machines or film studios.
  • The media aspect is often over-emphasised as if there is some yet to be discovered new medium that will improve art.This is completely ridiculous. Trying to use a new medium to mimic things that can be achieved better in painting is contradictory.
  • What is required is simply the discipline of using your mind to construct and hold an image that can be translated into a physical form.
  • Kevin Robertson
  • January 2003

Denver Landings 2001 Acrylic on Paper 19 x 27.5 cm Framed $650 each

Denver Descent 2001 Oil on Hemp 126 x 188cm

  • Projective Tests

A young woman lies on a couch, face turned, while another woman cradles, or almost cradles, her head in her lap. What do you see? Sisters? Lovers? Hostages? There are no answers. None are offered. How long the individuals have been as they are cannot be known, nor how long they will remain. Is there an impasse between these characters, or perhaps emotional exhaustion?

Awake and Asleep 1997 Oil on Linen 135 x 170 cm Private Collection

Robertson's paintings characteristically feature cool, dark interiors in which psychologically ambiguous scenes are enacted. The paintings have a curious stillness.

The enclosures in which Robertson's scenes are enacted offer little clue as to place or season, or indeed any conditions beyond the tensions contained by the walls. The walls themselves are smooth planes with an almost animated/organic quality, and seem perhaps less intended to divide and rationalise space than to conceal other presences or elements. We are uninvited spectators to these scenes.

Red Room, Bondi Junction 1992 Oil on Canvas 127 x 127 cm (Collection University of Western Australia)

Robertson has a strong sense of the psychological valence of composition, and the vital contribution of space in our understanding of the experience of his subjects. While comparison is difficult, we may be reminded of the work of Delvaux, who presents us with intentional ambiguities. Comparisons might also be drawn with the projective personality tests once commonly used in psychology and psychiatry. The patient is shown cards portraying ambiguous interpersonal situations and must respond with their own interpretations, which inform the tester about the patient's inner tensions and motivations. In his intimate domestic tableaux,

Studio Allergory 1997 Oil on Linen 180 x 174 cm

Robertson invites us to engage in similarly compelling interpretation and projection unique to each of us as viewers

All your Women Things 2000 Oil on Canvas 135 x 113 cm

Pip and Jenny Griffiths January 2003

Untitled 1999
Oil on Board
40 x 30 cm
Collection Australian National Museum

Night Thinker 1996
Oil on Board
20 x 20 cm
Private Collection

York Street, Interior 1998
Oil on Linen
113 x 132 cm

The Corridor 2001
Compressed Charcoal on Pastel on Paper
113 x 76 cm
Private Collection

Nawab Bathroom 2000
Oil on Canvas
40 x 30 cm
$ 1,100

  • lo-fidelity

Self Portrait 2001 Ink on Paper 19 x 27.5 cm Framed

lo-ficonjures visions of beanie-clad d.i.y.guys and grrrrls grinding cheezels into the carpet. making music in sheds and shacks. on reel-to-reels and four tracks. mixing over the moog.samples of dogs barking.creaking floorboards. neighbourhood sex's a beck meets the beta band meets de la soul kinda deal. though hardly a slacker, kevin robertson is a lo-fi guy too.hey, he makes music in his living room.and while he makes pictures in his studio,his paintings and drawings are infected with th efuzzed out ambiance of a lo-fi daze.though they're always accomplished and wear the whole learning-to-see thing on their canvas sleeves,they are never too fussy. there'sa cool hand-made quality about them. as if manet was a hep cat.or at least if manet hung around hep-cats.whatever. kevin's works have amuted, dense, compelling personality that position them outside our pre-packaged top-forty-with-a-bullet culture.they belong to what black francis called the subaculcha.makes sense.especially since this is a mini-erawhen painting has gone underground.when the best picture making is found in zines and ad campaigns. when painting has slipped (for better and worse) outside of official culture and all its boring ministrations about the good and the just.working in this interzone, robertson is free to obsessively load his art with a pictorial tone that cannot be bothered drawing distinctions between work and the dream work. no matter how ordinary the locale.and especially ordinary locales.and in his pictures we find a world a little weirder and intense than the one outside our ramsay street windows.this pleasurably dystopic vision is loose and messy and taut all at the same becomes clear that robertson's pictures monkey around with an internal groove thats hakes up our regular perceptual pathways. i guess. so for me this is the gist of robertson's lo-fi wonderland. i know because i hitched a ride there and i hopped off in one of his alley ways.i got to liking the view. and forgot to come back. let's call this my message in a bottle.

Steve in Sunglasses 2001 Ink on Paper 27.5 x 19 cm Framed

To be exhibited in The International Drawing Research Institute Exhibition in China. May 2003

robert cook january 2003


View Recent Exhibitions at Galerie Düsseldorf

View - New York Studies 2 - 26 September 2001- An exhibition of works exhibited at Galerie Düsseldorf and completed in New York, Spring 2001

Link to Previous Group Exhibition at Galerie Düsseldorf : In the Studio - From the Studio 24 Oct - 14 Nov 1999 (with Caspar Fairhall and Richard Gunning