Untitled, 1976 oil on composition board 81.5 x 110cm (32 1/16 x 43 5/16in).
PROVENANCE: Private collection Contemporary Art, Christies, Melbourne, 3 April 2001, lot 36
EXHIBITED: Ken Whisson - A Survey, Pinacotheca, Melbourne; Shepparton Art Gallery, Shepparton; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat; Warrambol Art Gallery, Warrambol; Geelong Art Gallery, Geelong, 1990-1991, cat. no. 17
Spending his formative years as an artist in Melbourne, at the periphery of the modernist circle at Heide, from early in his career Ken Whisson forged a singular artistic vision that he has maintained over 60 years of practice.
Untitled (1976) is emblematic of Whisson's work during this pivotal period. The painted forms, that could be based on kites or ﬂags seen around his then seaside base at St Kilda, are strangely ambiguous drifting between something known on one hand and a fantastic abstract amalgam on the other.
Paintings from that time were on composition board covered in an off-grey ground. Images were constructed using an idiosyncratic form of liquid cubism 'one that is inherently physical, constructed at the point the brush touches board.'1
In 2012 Whisson was the subject of a major survey at Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney. As reviewed by John McDonald the exhibition 'suggests that when we look back on Australian art of the late twentieth century we are going to have to ﬁ nd a prominent place for Whisson. He can no longer be dismissed as eccentric or idiosyncratic he is nothing less than a modern master'.2
1 Glenn Barkley and Lesley Harding Sometimes a Madhouse Sometimes a Palace: Thinking about the art of Ken Whisson in Ken Whisson: As If, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, p. 17 2 John McDonald, Outside of the awful mainstream, October 6 2012, Sydney Morning Herald.