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

Title

The last supper (maquette)

1984

Artist

Bob Law

England

22 Jan 1934 - 17 Apr 2004

  • Details

    Date
    1984
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    bronze
    Dimensions
    19.0 x 107.0 x 30.0 cm overall approx. :

    a - Christ's chair, 10 x 81.3 x 20.4 cm

    b - Christ's chair, 18.5 x 8.4 x 8.9 cm

    c-n - 12 chairs, 15.3 x 8.1 x 8.3 cm, each chair

    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Purchased 2003
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    79.2003.a-n
    Copyright
    © Estate of Bob Law

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Bob Law

    Works in the collection

    4

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  • About

    While in St Ives as a young artist after the war Bob Law earned his living as a shepherd and lived in a croft overlooking the sea. When not painting and drawing images based on an elevated almost map like perspective of the area he was whittling furniture from driftwood. The skill he acquired then lay dormant for 30 years while he concentrated on painting. In the early 1980s he returned to the furniture but this time as a form of sculpture.

    The painting 'Blue black indigo black' in the Gallery's collection, dates from the mid 1970s when Law was concerned with imaging the void by making black paintings with extraordinary depths in which layers of blue and indigo reward the close observer as the apparently black field dissolves into veils of transparent space. He called some of them 'Nothing to be afraid of'; an ironic reference to an earlier series called 'Who is afraid of Barnet Newman' but he also described them as fields for contemplation. These paintings are at once nothing and a portal to infinity.

    The sculptures based on a shepherd's pastime mostly reflect upon that other carpenter in Nazareth. There was 'Christ chair in ultramarine', a sly reference to Klein here but also a continuation of a long visual tradition where the empty chair denotes the absent owner. 'The Last supper' includes a Christ Chair in which the back is made in the shape of a cross under a roof denoting Christ as the church. Judas is the broken chair while the others are all the same solid square chairs.

    In a way this can be thought of as a form of iconoclasm the figures are not portrayed directly only symbolically identified but it so strongly sets the scene that the viewer automatically completes the image in their imagination. In this way we all get the last supper of our own imagining.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 4 publications

Other works by Bob Law

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