Untitled, 1977 signed with initials and dated 'AM 77' upper right; inscribed 'Allan Mitelman / Untitled 1977' verso oil on canvas 183 x 152.5cm (72 1/16 x 60 1/16in).
PROVENANCE: Purchased from 312 Lennox Street Gallery, Melbourne in May 1988
EXHIBITED: Allan Mitelman - After-images: A Survey of Works From 1970-1995, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 24 July - 17 September 1995, cat. no. 24 The Laverty Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 20 June - 23 August 1998
LITERATURE: Allan Mitelman - After-images: A Survey of Works From 1970-1995, exh. cat., Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 1995, cat. no. 24, p.31 (illus. upside down)
Mitelman was not yet 30 years of age when he was included in the exhibition, Artists' Artists at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1975; he'd emerged as a painter and printmaker of infinite subtlety, poetry and lyricism. Abstraction remained his mainstay, although many artists of his generation returned to figuration. His works are mostly untitled, thereby distancing any literal reading of the teasing, playful repertoire of his drawing. Mitelman's technique of accumulation and erasure, of creating marks, textures and soft intonations evoke an ambient, romantic abstraction; a technique ideally suited for his printmaking too his lithographs are as celebrated as his paintings. There's a discreet acknowledgment to artists such as Antoni Tàpies and Cy Twombly whose marks and pictorial incidents seem like an unconscious and intuitive realisation of fragments from memory; or like found tableaus, there's a sense we encounter his images as something undisturbed, beautiful and quietly inexplicable.