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Trevor VICKERS (b.1943) - UNTITLED

Trevor VICKERS (b.1943)

Trevor Vickers was born in Adelaide in 1943, though his family moved to Perth shortly after, when he was four months old. *

Vickers relocated to Melbourne in 1959 where he took up employment as a telecommunications technician. In the early 1960s, he began to paint as a hobby and was a predominantly self-taught artist. He became friends with conceptual artist, Mel Ramsden, who introduced Vickers to the developments in abstraction taking place in New York. Vickers’s early paintings were comprised of geometric abstract-shaped canvases, including those famously included in the ground-breaking yet controversial The Field exhibition in 1968.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Vickers lived and worked in Drummond Street, together with Guy Stuart, Robert Hunter, Paul Partos and Mike Brown, and exhibited at Pinacotheca Gallery in Melbourne alongside Australia’s best known conceptual and post-object artists. ** In the early 1970s, Vickers also resided in a commune in South Gippsland. *

Vickers moved to England in 1978 and lived for 17 years in Brighton where he produced his Catalan series of shaped paintings and the Farm Road series of screen-prints. **

Vickers returned to Australia in 1995 and currently lives and continues his art practice in Perth. * He was one of the founding members of the artist-run-initiative Art Collective WA in 2013 and he continues to explore hard-edge, minimal, geometric abstraction in his paintings notably his De Lacy Series of 2008 to 2009. **

Vickers’s first group exhibitions were Young Minds and New Generation, both at the Museum of Modern Art and Design, Melbourne, in 1964 and 1965. His first solo exhibitions were held at Sweeney Reed’s Strines Gallery, Melbourne, in 1966 and 1967. In 1968, two of his works were included the inaugural exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Southbank site, The Field, which showcased Australian colour field paintings and abstract sculpture and conceptual works. While one of the original of his untitled paintings included in the exhibition was acquired by The National Gallery of Australia, the other subsequently went missing and so Vickers agreed to remake it in 2017 so that it could be displayed in the 50 year anniversary exhibition The Field Revisited. * Since 1968, Vickers has held numerous solo and group exhibitions around Australia and in the UK, including exhibiting at the Brighton Festival in England in 1992 and 1994.

In 2001, Vickers won the inaugural BankWest Art Prize. *** The monograph Trevor Vickers: Untitled Painting was published in 2016. “Trevor Vickers’ career straddles many of the key moments in Australian art of the last 50 years,” curator and writer Andrew Gaynor says in his essay from the monograph. “It is a trajectory that moves from the famed circle gathered around John and Sunday Reed … to inclusion in the seminal exhibition, The Field … and on to his position now as one of Australia’s truly respected senior artists.”

Jack Pam, Artsource, has described Vickers as: “an artist of obvious and significant talent”. ****

Throughout his career, Vickers has explored hard-edge, minimal, geometric abstraction in his paintings. In relation to one of the untitled works included in The Field exhibition in 1968, Patrick McCaughey observed: “Trevor Vickers’s steeped cream and red painting contains itself and its strength even as the units descend in scale. Its rigour makes you move down its progression, not via the edge, but unit by unit so that the whole works together as a single entity. There is no skipping a unit. The last unit … a square after a succession of rectangles has the effect of giving the piece a potentially dynamic movement along the wall without disrupting the compactness of the rest.” *

Once Vickers moved to Brighton, his art became more gestural with textured brush strokes. * Vickers has commented, in relation to his Catalan series, that the gesso-on-timber panels were inspired by the formal compositional tensions he saw in the Romanesque works of southern France and northern Spain during a European study tour in the early 1980s. On the same trip, Vickers noticed the technique repeated in a collection of ivory boxes on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London: “The same devices were used to give tensions to the images so it looked as if they were about to do something,” he says. “That is when I started to play with those devices and found it fascinating.” ***

Vickers has explained that he prefers not to title his paintings because he wants them to communicate directly with the viewer unencumbered by such reference points: “As soon as you say anything about a painting, it attunes the observer into looking at it from a certain point of view. I’d rather people see it however they want to.” ***

Vickers’s works are held in Collections across Australia, including the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Queensland Art Gallery, the Heide Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art and many other state and regional galleries, corporate, university and significant private Collections throughout Australia. *****

* Trevor Vickers, The Field Revisited Artwork Labels, pp. 15, 18 & 135 ** Trevor Vickers, Art Collective WA *** Vickers art book defies a title, Steven Bevis, The West Australian, 13 April 2016 **** Trevor Vickers Untitled Painting, About, Fremantle Press, 2016 ***** Curriculum Vitae (abridged), Art Collective WA


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