In The art that made me, artists discuss works in the Art Gallery of NSW collection that either inspire, influence or simply delight them. This selection by Kevin Connor first appeared in Look – the Gallery’s members magazine.
Kevin Connor is drawn to the derelict corners of a city and the people he finds there. 'I’ve always found a lot of poetry in poorer areas,' he says, but adds that his work is not underscored by any sort of social criticism. 'I’m something of a fan of Noel Counihan – he was a social realist and I’m not. I paint people. There’s no message. I love the city and that’s why I paint it.'
This fondness translates into sweeping, idiosyncratic canvases that reveal the 'wonderful grit' that so engrosses him, and that have made him one of the country’s most respected senior artists. Connor has twice won the Archibald, Wynne and Dobell prizes. Curator and publisher Lou Klepac told the Sydney Morning Herald last November: 'If Kevin Connor had been born in England he’d be as famous as Frank Auerbach, whose pictures sell for a million dollars.'