The American-born James Doolin was a significant figure in the development of colour field painting and minimalist art in Australia, despite residing in this country for only two years. Doolin arrived in Melbourne from New York in 1965 and exhibited his paintings at Gallery A and Central Street Gallery in Sydney during his time in Australia.
Doolin's 'Artificial landscape' series of hard-edge works reference the synthetic forms and colours of the city. In 1969 a sophisticated sub-group of 'arch paintings' evolved out of this series. Characterised by an arched format and airbrushed bands of kaleidoscopic colour, these so-called 'rainbow windows' were produced in California and shipped to Sydney, where they were exhibited to critical acclaim at Central Street Gallery in May/June 1970. In a letter to Tony McGillick, Doolin addressed the response to his 'arch paintings':
to all the questions as to whether they are ‘supposed to be‘ architectural, religious, sexual, metaphysical, mystical, ritualistic, floral, phallic, hard edge or colour field, mechanical or sensual, solid or atmospherical, ancient or modern, special or flat, the answer is yes.
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
206.0 x 137.0 x 3.2 cm stretcher
Signature & date
Signed and dated u.l. verso, black fibre-tipped pen "JAMES DOOLIN/ .../ 1969...".
Not on display
© Estate of James Doolin
Shown in 3 exhibitions
James Doolin, Central Street Gallery, Sydney, 27 May 1970–13 Jun 1970
Central Street Live:
- Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains 16 Nov 2002–23 Feb 2003
- Macquarie University Art Gallery, Sydney 07 Mar 2003–05 May 2003
Forcefields, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Feb 2014–14 Sep 2014