Keith Looby

Drawings, Prints And Paintings

13 August - 3 September

Keith Looby has been a compelling presence in the evolving ecosystem of the Australian art world since the 1960s – never a follower – always striking his own path, Looby has maintained his singular form of figurative or representational art-making, through a time when many other styles or movements arrived - almost on a regular roster system – only to soon be superseded, after the appropriate polite interval of time, by the next new international “ism”.

Looby is a storyteller – a visual narrator of great insight, who during the 1970s in two series of etchings chronicled the History of Australia prior to European settlement and later followed this with the Black And White History of Australia.

Alongside these, Looby has also produced series of prints and drawings about the History of the World, as well as his never ending Personal History – which to some extent evolved into the Art Eater series - works which speak both directly and satirically about his relationship with the local art bureaucracy and art world politics.

Looby’s output of work, particularly from the 1960s through to the 1990s has been prodigious – painting by day and drawing at night, has been a means of separating these two creative forms – a separation of which Looby has often spoken – indicating that whilst the drawings very often come from pre-conceived ideas, the paintings develop from the act of pushing around the very material of paint.

Admirable also, is Looby’s belief that the artist needs to continually interrogate the marks they make – meaning that an artist should never become too easily satisfied or content with the outcome of a work – and this constant observation and contemplation, may in some respect underpin the sculptural form that many of the paintings have developed over long build ups and constant re-evaluation.

This exhibition – covering four decades from the mid 1960s onwards - provides an opportunity to appreciate Looby’s long-standing engagement, not only with drawing, etching and painting – but also to recognise and appreciate the wonderful fruits of a life lived in the land of ideas. 

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