Ralph Balson is renowned as one of Australia's leading abstract artists of the mid twentieth century. Through his rigorous and disciplined approach, Balson demonstrated his single-minded pursuit of pure painting.
This painting belongs to his series of 'Matter paintings' produced in the early 1960s. In his 'Matter paintings' Balson employed fluid and automatic techniques of pouring and trailing paint on large boards. He allowed the paint to slip and bleed across the board's surface. At times the paint would coagulate in heavy layers which cracked or rippled as they dried, creating textural effects.
During his first trip abroad in 1960, Balson saw first-hand the most recent forms of contemporary painting. He visited exhibitions of American minimalist and hard-edge painting; however it was the work of the European Tachists and textual painters such as Burri and Tapiès that made the strongest impression on him.
synthetic polymer paint and concrete on hardboard
67.4 x 88.4 cm sight; 81.7 x 103.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pale grey synthetic polymer paint "R.Balson.61".
Gift of Chris and Susannah Turle 2013. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Not on display
© Estate of Ralph Balson
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Ralph Balson: matter paintings, Bloomfield Galleries, Australia, 08 Jun 1988–02 Jul 1988
Ralph Balson and James Clifford paintings (1994):
Watters Gallery: 50th anniversary exhibition, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, 19 Sep 2014–02 Nov 2014
Referenced in 3 publications
David Pestorius, High achievement or creative byway: the erratic reception of Ralph Balson's 'Matter' paintings, 2003, 7, 26, 33, 57 (illus.). plate 8
Watters Gallery, Ralph Balson & James Clifford paintings, Sydney, 1994, n.pag. (colour illus.). cat.no. 4
Natalie Wilson and Anneke Jaspers, Foundation Newsletter #22, 'Curators' and coordinators' reports: Australian art', pg. 6-7, Sydney, Jun 2013, 6.