Heide & MCA stage major Whisson retrospective - Art Collector

Ken Whisson, Flag for David Ireland no. 2,  1979–80. Oil on canvas, 89 x 119 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Artbank, Sydney

16 March 2012 | Victoria’s Heide Museum of Modern Art and Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art have teamed up to present As If, a major retrospective of Ken Whisson’s work.

The exhibition traces the evolution of Whisson’s work over the past six decades and explores his major series and themes, among them displacement, memory, landscape, identity and politics.

The artist, who has lived in the Italian city of Perugia since the late 1970s, originally trained as a painter under Russian émigré artist Danila Vassilieff, whose direct and expressive style of painting had a major influence on the young artist. Whisson continues to practice Vassilieff’s early lessons: to work intuitively and immediately, from the left to the right of the picture, and then to “put it to the wall” as he calls it.

At age 84, Whisson continues to create works that challenge a traditional understanding of place and time, and prompt in the viewer a sense of political and philosophical reflection.

As if runs from 17 March to 15 July 2012 at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Victoria and from 28 September to 25 November 2012 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Zoe Wilesmith

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