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An image of Jasper's gesture by Tony McGillick

Tony McGillick

(Australia 22 Feb 1941 – 03 Nov 1992)

Jasper's gesture
Media category
Materials used
synthetic polymer paint and wax on canvas, in four modular sections

170.1 x 162.5 cm overall (irreg.)

Signature & date
Signed u.l. verso, blue ball-point pen ".../ Tony McGillick". Not dated.
D G Wilson Bequest Fund 2003
Accession number
© Estate of Tony McGillick
Not on display
Further information

'Jasper's gesture' has an unusual and irregular polygon shape. Like other artists at this time, Tony McGillick was exploring the idea that the shape of a painting need not be confined to the 'neutral' convention of the square, rectangle, oval or circle, but could be a dynamic part of the composition.

McGillick also focused on colour and its interaction within the painting. The flat surfaces and synthetic colours contrast with the single white panel in painterly encaustic (pigment and wax). This work was painted in Sydney after McGillick returned from London via America in the early 1960s where he had seen the work of American colour-field painters. The title however is a tribute to American artist Jasper Johns, whose influence helped to formulate McGillick’s ideas and who often used encaustic.

Bibliography (11)

George Berger., Sydney Jewish news, 'Aspden, McGillick and Mirka Mora', Sydney, 14 Jun 1968. Review of 1968 Central Street Gallery exhibition. A work titled 'Jasper's Garden' is mentioned, as is most likely the painting 'Jasper's Gesture', as no painting of that name is listed in the catalogue.

Rhonda Davis, Central Street live, 'The hidden seam', pg. 21-31, Sydney, 2002, 43. Private collection

Michael Desmond, Contemporary: Art Gallery of New South Wales Contemporary Collection, 'Abstraction', pg. 16-59, Sydney, 2006, 44, 45 (colour illus.).

Noel Hutchison., Honi soit, 'Noel Hutchison tracks around the Galleries', Sydney, Jun 1968. Review of Central Street Gallery exhibition, June 1968.

Paul McGillick, Survey 6: Tony McGillick, Melbourne, 1978, (illus.). 9; collection: the artist

Paul McGillick., Central Street: an exhibition of selected paintings shown at the Central Street Gallery in Sydney between 1966 and 1969, 'Introduction', Richmond, 1990, (colour illus.). 10; collection: the artist

Paul McGillick, Survey 6: Tony McGillick, Melbourne, 1978. Produced to accompany the exhibition of the same name shown at the NGV in 1978.

Linda van Nunen, Brought to light II: Australian art 1966-2006, 'Patterns of experience: Sydney abstraction', pg. 32-42, South Brisbane, 2007, 40 (colour illus.).

Jill Sykes, Look, 'Small and temporary: but it's a big pointer to the future', pg. 28-29, Newtown, Sep 2011, 28 (colour illus.).

Michael Wardell, Look, 'Thanks to a generous benefactor', pg. 14-15, Newtown, Oct 2003, 14 (colour illus.).

Natalie Wilson, Tackling THE FIELD, 'Tackling The Field', pg. 1-29, Sydney, 2009, 9 (colour illus.), 25. NOTE: This work was hung in an adjoining room for the duration of the 'Tackling THE FIELD' collection focus display.

Exhibition history (6)

Tony McGillick (1968), Central Street Gallery, Sydney, 05 Jun 1968–29 Jun 1968

Tony McGillick, Pinacotheca Gallery, Australia, Oct 1968 -

Survey 6: Tony McGillick, National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne, 21 Oct 1978–26 Nov 1978

Central Street: an exhibition of selected paintings shown at the Central Street Gallery in Sydney between 1966 and 1969, Charles Nodrum Gallery, Richmond, 23 Oct 1990–14 Nov 1990

The sense of making: Tony McGillick, selected works from the 60's 70's and 90's, Annandale Studio, Annandale, 23 Nov 2000–16 Dec 2000

Central Street Live: