The underlying principle behind Modernism is a deliberate rejection of the styles of the past, placing an emphasis on experimentation with the expressive use of form, colour, materials, and lines, with a tendency towards abstraction. It was a rejection of conservative values and challenged the notion that art must realistically depict the world. Modernism started in the 1850s and by the 1960s it had become the dominant idea in art.
In this selection, we look at the work of contemporary counterparts to the Modernist masters. Through varied interpretation this curation presents work that – either consciously or not – is informed by European masters such as Matisse, Lichtenstein, Rothko, Picasso, Munch, Pollock, and Basquiat. Common themes are abstraction, colour, and Modernist techniques.
Other artists in this mix look towards Australian modernist painters, specifically a literary and artistic group known as the Angry Penguin Painters, who included Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester, to name a few. The movement, which gathered pace in the 1940s, was started by the magazine of the same name and published by surrealist poet Max Harris.
Presented here is just a small group of works that reflect the Modernist aesthetic. Have a look around the site at the other incredible artists and engage your inner art historian.