Co-editor of the publication 'Arty Wild Oat' (1962) with Martin Sharp, Garry Shead is one of the central artists of the Sydney cultural scene of the 1960s, which included Brett Whiteley, John Firth-Smith, Richard Larter, and Albie Thoms. Experimenting with mediums as diverse as printmaking, film, cartoons and painting, Shead's significant output of cartoons, mostly satirical reflections of upper-middle class suburban life, appeared in the 'Bulletin', the 'Sydney Morning Herald', 'Honi Soit', and 'Oz', which he co-founded with Sharp.
A great admirer of D.H. Lawrence, an appreciation he shared with Whiteley, his parodies of life in the Sydney suburbs had close affiliations with Pop artists of Britain and the United States. Like the anecdotal assemblages of American satirist Ed Kienholz, Shead protracts human memory through the application and manipulation of discards such as photographs, girly magazines, torn bits of fabric, cigarette packs, even plastic dolls, which he scavenged for use in relief paintings such as 'Bondi'.
In 1968, Noel Hutchinson reviewed Shead's exhibition held in Sydney at Watters Gallery, at which 'Bondi' was shown for the first time:
"Shead paints with the attitude of that onlooker who is always around in parks and public places. Looking to see the obscene, Shead finds, and celebrates it. He is a moralist, and yet salivates over the joys of human exposure. 'Bondi' [encourages] an attitude of shocked love for lewdness. The prudish are confronted and decimated by their own guilt complexes".
Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2001
synthetic polymer paint, collage on board
216.5 x 137.5 cm stretcher
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r.corner, white oil "Shead 68".
D G Wilson Bequest Fund 1999
Not on display
© Garry Shead, 1968. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Garry Shead (1968), Watters Gallery, East Sydney, 21 Aug 1968 -
The Caddy Collection, Watters Gallery, East Sydney, 08 Nov 1988–26 Nov 1988
Australian paintings 1950-1990, Charles Nodrum Gallery, Richmond, Oct 1996–Nov 1996
Pop to popism, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Nov 2014–01 Mar 2015
Referenced in 11 publications
Noel Hutchison, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'The view!', pg. 14, Sydney, 22 Aug 1968, 14.
Michael Wardell, Look, 'Thanks to a generous benefactor', pg. 14-15, Sydney, Oct 2003, 15.
Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'Important purchases: what the Society and Contempo bought for the Gallery in 2001', pg. 16-17, Melbourne, Dec 2001-Jan 2002, 17.
City of Sydney Yearbook: 1999, Sydney, May 2000, 59 (colour illus.).
Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 1999, Sydney, 1999, 21 (colour illus.).
Australian Paintings 1950-1990, Richmond, 1996, (illus.). cat.no. 26; not paginated
Author Unknown, Sotheby's - Melbourne. 100 works from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, 16 Jun 1991. cat.no. 66
The Caddy collection, Sydney, 1988, 38, back cover (colour illus.). cat.no. 34
The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 04 Sep 1968.
Unknown (Editor), Sunday telegraph, Sydney, 01 Sep 1968.
Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'Brett at the beach', pg. 6, Sydney, Mar 2003, 6 (colour illus.).