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John BEARD (b.1943)

Winner of the 2007 Archibald Prize: John Beard

John Beard’s work The Gap won the 2006 Wynne Prize for the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, aligning him with luminaries such as Hans Heysen and Russell Drysdale.

At the same time, he was a finalist in the Archibald with his portrait of fellow artist Ken Unsworth.

The performances underline his status as an important contemporary painter who relies on the tension between the visual and tactile effects of images and the quality of the surface to tease the conscientiousness. While he creates an image, he does not strictly define it. His paintings, therefore, have an almost eerie quality about them. 

In painting landscapes and geological forms, each begins to take on characteristics of the other. His portraits take on a rock-like quality and his rocks begin to look like people. It is fascinating for the viewer to take time to consider Beard’s paintings in a quiet, contemplative manner.

John Beard was born in 1943, Aberdare, Wales, and was educated at Swansea College of Art before moving to England to study at the University of London and the Royal College of Art.  He is a world traveller and has painted and lived in places as diverse as Portugal and Uluru. His layered approach is as much about the exploration of the process as it is about his subject matter.

He has taught and mentored in schools, colleges and universities, explored film and photography, and worked on television.

In 1984 Beard held his first solo exhibition, for the Festival of Perth in WA, and has since had many successful exhibitions throughout the world. His work has been represented at national and international group exhibitions, is held in numerous collections, and brought him many accolades and awards.


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