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An image of Battle plan by Elwyn Lynn

Elwyn Lynn

(Australia 06 Nov 1917 – 22 Jan 1997)

Battle plan
Media category
Materials used
sand, synthetic polymer paint on canvas

127.0 x 127.0 cm stretcher; 129.0 x 129.0 x 4.4 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed u.l. verso, ink "Elwyn Lynn". Signed u.r. verso, ink ".../ Elwyn Lynn/ ...". Not dated.
Purchased 1967
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Artist, writer, curator, critic, adminstrator - Elwyn Lynn was unstinting in his lifelong dedication to art, both as practitioner and observer. As member, then president, of Sydney's Contemporary Art Society, he was a major contributor, and editor from 1955, to its newsletter, the CAS Broadsheet, and in the late 1950s and early 1960s wrote extensively on texture painting.

Lynn's early interest in surface, ground and texture, had the collages of Picasso, Kurt Schwitters' Merz pictures, and Klee as precursors, however the discovery of the works of the Spaniards Tàpies, Feito, Cuixart, Millares and Saura, provoked further research into the entire movement. He looked, in particular, at the work of Dubuffet, Jean Fautrier, and the Italian Alberto Burri.

'Battle plan' exudes an immense physical presence with its allusions to cracked and eroded terrain, as Robert Hughes wrote in 1963:
"His hard pastes - smooth as ancient rocks, perforated with holes or creased and sagging like skin - inhabit an area of significant experience, which lies wholly beyond drama or declamation. It is an art of silences ... the essential quality of [his] pictures ... is their Sartrean "otherness": the silent wrinkled hides, the grey intrusive blocks of matter, even the glued-on fragments of lettering, go on existing whether we look at them or not. No effort of ours changes their contained identity".

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2001

Bibliography (7)

Patrick McCaughey, Elwyn Lynn, Adelaide, 1969, (illus.). not paginated; no plate numbers

Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Landscape and gesture', pg. 239-240, Sydney, 2000, 245 (colour illus.), 301.

Peter Pinson, Elwyn Lynn Elwyn Lynn: two decades, Sydney, 1977, (illus.).

Peter Pinson, Elwyn Lynn retrospective 1956-1990, Sydney, 1991, 10-12, 62. plate no. 9; 9

Peter Pinson, Elwyn Lynn: metaphor + texture, St Leonards, 2002, 56, 57 (colour illus.), 104, 160, 166. plate no. 11

Lina Tesoriero and Helga Nilson, Art in perspective, Marrickville, 1993, 132 (colour illus.).

Editor Unknown (Editor), 1967 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1967, 14. 12

Exhibition history (6)

Elwyn Lynn exhibition: Festival of Perth 1967, Skinner Galleries, Perth, Perth, 31 Jan 1967–08 Feb 1967

Elwyn Lynn (1967), Hungry Horse Gallery, Paddington, May 1967–Unknown

Acquisitions 1967, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Mar 1968–01 Apr 1968

Elwyn Lynn: two decades (1977), Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Paddington, 24 Oct 1977–18 Nov 1977

Three decades of Australian landscape painting from 1945: from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales (1982), National Gallery of Papua New Guinea, 24 Mar 1982–05 May 1982

Art in view (1983), Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Emu Plains, Apr 1983–Jul 1983