Sprint V 1971 inscribed '"SPRINT V" 71 / OIL 23" x 14"' verso oil on masonite 58.5 x 35.3cm (23 1/16 x 13 7/8in).
PROVENANCE Peter Gant Fine Art, Melbourne The Reg Grundy AC OBE and Joy Chambers-Grundy Collection, acquired in 1989
EXHIBITED Autumn Exhibition, Peter Gant Fine Art, Melbourne, April - May 1989, cat. no. 60
The 'Sprint' series, which immediately preceded the 'Sun Torsos', began as oil paintings on board. They soon developed into works of greater subtlety and an even flatter picture plane, where, using stencilled shapes, the abstract forms mask and contrast a soft voyeuristic eroticism of the figure. There is no suggestion of expansive space the figure is contained within a deliberately compressed format. Explicitness is non-existent, smouldering sensation abounds. The cropped female form is central often bikini-clad. There's no other external context.
Sprint V is a crucial and formative marker to the Sun Torso series where the restrained palette and simple silhouette appears as a symbolic vignette of Australian summer culture and liberated sexuality. It's a long way from his formative years as a student at the National Art School in Sydney. There is nothing to identify the woman as any particular artist's muse she is a single anonymous figure. But as a series they have become emblematic of the time, and have done so without becoming cheesy symbolic clichés. They are curiously voyeuristic without any sense of the viewer leering; but they are sexy. Anonymity helps emphasise the artist's purpose as he explores the possibilities of interleaving abstraction with figuration in equal measure. Powditch's women are not glamorous 'types' or shrill chicks. He creates form and quiet sensation out of Australian beach babes that are sexy, but without gratuitous raunch.
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