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From his home near Castlemaine in central Victoria, Australia, accomplished abstract artist, Robert Jacks, worked as painter, printmaker, sculptor and teacher.
Born in Melbourne in 1943, Jacks is one of Australia’s most important and accomplished abstract artists, and is a veteran of more than 50 solo exhibitions and many group exhibitions.
Trained in sculpture at Prahran TAFE and painting at RMIT, Jacks soon rose to prominence, with his first solo exhibition at Melbourne’s Gallery A in 1966, through to his representation in The Field in 1968. This exhibition was to launch the new National Gallery of Victoria in St Kilda Road, and with it, a wider appreciation of Jacks’ unique Geometric abstraction.
The early 70’s saw Jacks move to New York, where, from his home studio loft in Soho, he eagerly embraced the flourishing conceptually oriented minimalist art movement, along with the accompanying lifestyle of exhibitions and nightlife.
"There are times in your life when you need to be right in the middle of it," he says. "There are other times in your life when you need to get out of town. Monet left Paris. "And so Jacks left the maddening crowd behind, choosing the quieter, more private lifestyle of rural Victoria”.
Today, reminders of his heady 60’s student days can be seen in his two purpose-built granite studios; one devoted to his huge retro record collection; the other, a testament to his artistic pursuits with its bohemian paint-splashed interior.
Jacks’ work has evolved over the past 20 years into a more painterly and graphic abstraction, The Spanish music that stirred his spirit as a young student continues to fuel his art with passionate inspiration. The recurring guitar symbol in his more recent works mirrors Jacks’ personal imagery, in which he sees the voluptuous curves of a woman within the sensuous shape of a guitar. Jacks bends and moulds his guitar shapes, imbuing them with beautiful melds of colour against their hard edges.
"Colour is the main mood in a painting, the heart of the painting, whereas drawing is the brain of the painting," says Jacks. Jacks retains a deep connection with his immediate surroundings and draws on his personal experiences, which are continually reflected in his paintings and sculptures.