We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Title

Portrait of Paul Taylor

1984

Artist

Robert Rooney

Australia

24 Sep 1937 - 21 Mar 2017

  • Details

    Date
    1984
    Media category
    Photograph
    Materials used
    Cibachrome photograph
    Dimensions
    20.1 x 30.4 cm image/sheet
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Purchased 1996
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    266.1996
    Copyright
    © Estate of Robert Rooney

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Robert Rooney

    Works in the collection

    12

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  • About

    Robert Rooney was born and educated in Melbourne, and he attended Swinburne College of Technology 1954-57. Rooney’s career has encompassed painting, collage, prints, music, photography, and commercial art and design. He has exhibited throughout Australia and been included in a number of significant exhibitions including the Biennales of Sydney 1986, 1990 and ‘Cubism and Australian art’, Heide Museum of Modern Art 2009.

    Rooney’s 75 portraits of his colleagues and fellow artists were produced between 1978 and 1984. They followed on from his conceptual photo works of the 1970s. Whereas those earlier Instamatic works were presented in grid patterns of order and repetition and showed little concern for technical standards, Rooney wanted his portraits to be as perfect as he could manage. He formulated certain rules, such as using only available light and not cropping the images. Rooney often made portraits on the spur of the moment, however posing was also done in collaboration with the subject. Each portrait had elements pertaining to the subject’s character and work, though these often occurred through chance rather than design.

    The four portraits in the Art Gallery of New South Wales collection reflect a particular period in Australian art, when the now established artists were beginning their careers. They depict members of the contemporary art scene of the late 1970s to mid 1980s associated with ‘Art + Text’, an Australian art magazine published from 1981-2000.

    This photograph depicts Paul Taylor, the founder of ‘Art + Text’. Taylor edited the magazine from 1981 to 1984, when he moved to New York to work as an art critic. Taylor rejected established institutional values and was said to revel in his status as a provocateur. He was also flamboyant and this is reflected in the cowboy style shirt and neck tie he wears. This character can also be seen in his defiant, cross armed position before a large mirror, and the Gerry Gee ventriloquist doll, a figure from Australian children’s television of the 1950s and 60s, in the bottom left corner of the frame.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

Other works by Robert Rooney

See more works