Men's Wear

John Brack Men's wear 1953 National Gallery of Australia

On 11 February 1999 the distinguished Australian artist John Brack died in Melbourne. An exhibition of his work entitled John Brack: inside and outside, which had been planned for some time, is being held at the National Gallery of Australia until 14 June 1999.

John Brack was one of Australia's most outstanding artists. He was born in Melbourne in 1920, and his work first achieved prominence in the 1950s. For over forty years he was at the forefront of Australian art and produced some of our most iconic images. More than any other Australian artist of his generation, Brack was a painter of modern life - its starkness, its shadows and its brooding self-reflection. His work is characterised by a kind of caustic realism and a strong sense of alienation, undercut with dry, sardonic humour.

The inner world of John Brack provides sharp insights into Australian suburban life, yet these are not without compassion and a sense that the artist himself is engaged within the world he portrays. In his journey from the 1950s to the present Brack became increasingly concerned with a visual language which is intensely personal, yet also able to convey observations on the larger questions of human existence.

The National Gallery of Australia has a wonderful collection of works by John Brack - paintings, prints and drawings - which are showcased in this important exhibition. John Brack: inside and outside comprises 50 works, mostly from the NGA collection, with some loans from private collections. Included in the exhibition is the Gallery's superb new acquisition, The bathroom 1957, a work which exemplifies Brack's intimate focus, mastery of line and bravura use of colour. Also included in the exhibition are celebrated paintings such as Men's wear 1953, Latin American Grand Final 1969 and The battle 1981-83. Works on paper from his nude and gymnast series of the 1970s and 1980s demonstrate Brack's extraordinary qualities as a draughtsman and his fascination with representing the human body as both animate and inanimate.

With the death of John Brack we have lost one of our most intelligent and committed artists, whose penetrating gaze illuminated aspects of Australian urban life for his audiences, and engaged with the central questions of human existence.

For further information and/or photographic images please contact Helen Power, Promotions Officer, Public Affairs, telephone (02) 6240 6431 or fax (02) 6240 6561.