Robert Boynes

(b. 1942. Adelaide, SA, Australia)

Robert Boynes was already a respected, mid-career artist when he had his first solo exhibition with Access Contemporary Art Gallery in 1996, MAY SPACE’s former incarnation. This association has resulted in close to fifteen solo shows of Boynes’ paintings with the Gallery over the last twenty years. A testament to the success of his career, Boynes has work held in every major art collection across Australia, a number of international institutions, corporate bodies, private collectors and many Australian Regional Galleries. These impressive collections include, but are not limited to, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, the Tasmania Museum & Art Gallery, the Queensland Art Gallery, the Australian War Memorial, Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, the Canberra Museum & Art Gallery, Wollongong City Gallery, the Australia Council, and Artbank.

2017 saw two survey shows of Boynes's work on exhibition, expanding different time periods. Work from 2000 onwards was presented at ANU Drill Hall Gallery in Canberra and Five Decades was on view at MAY SPACE in Sydney. This second exhibition explored Boynes's conceptual and visual evolution throughout the last fifty years through a curated selection of works chosen from his studio. These retrospective exhibitions followed a series of accolades over the past few years: the triptych Blind Leading the Blind (2015), as well as the major work Auto Sex from the 1960s, entering the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales; his multipanel installation Long Take – Slow Dissolve, encapsulating the aesthetic and energy of an urban environment across fifteen canvases, representing Brenda May Gallery/MAY SPACE at Art Stage Singapore; and two works from the collections of the AGNSW and the National Gallery of Victoria being curated into the blockbuster exhibition Pop to Popism (2014 – 2015) at the AGNSW, Sydney .

Boynes' five-decade-long career has accommodated three aesthetically distinctive periods, each making astute comments about contemporary society. Taking cues from his time spent in London, Boynes's work in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s reflected the neo-pop era, interrogating the allure of consumerism. A physical move to Canberra saw Boynes’s work shift visually, as his previous shallow depth of field and flat, restricted surfaces were replaced with lush painterly ones. Influenced by a trip to Los Angeles, these works were often desolate, but anxious, and began Boynes's thematic fascination with the city. In the 1990’s Boynes returned to a stripped back surface, imaging lonely crowds of shadowed figures and epic topographical maps of urban environments. Boynes’s work in the 2000’s captured monitoring devices and perversion, and his most recent works have visualised a perspectival "zooming-in" of subject matter - from vast aerial views, implicating the hum and chaos of the city, to the people and sights that occupy it. Capturing a sense of motion and flux, each canvas stands alone as a fleeting moment or can be configured with others to create storyboards of filmic "frames".