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Australian art

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Jasper's gesture



Tony McGillick


22 Feb 1941 - 03 Nov 1992


'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.

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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


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Tony McGillick

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 12 publications


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

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

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.).

John Saxby (Editor), Look, 'Art school encaustic painting', Sydney, Jan 2019-Feb 2019, 13 (colour illus.).

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

Michael Wardell, Look, 'Thanks to a generous benefactor', pg. 14-15, Sydney, 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.