Dick Watkins is active/lives in Australia. Dick Watkins is known for painting.
Biography from Bonhams Australia
Dick Watkins won his reputation in Australia in the 1960s with his
large-scale, hard-edge color-field paintings. He was probably the first
artist to exhibit works in this idiom in Australia, and he became a
mainstay of the Central Street Gallery, then a by-word for tough,
ambitious avant-garde art. This association extended between 1966 and
1969, and in 1969 Watkins was given a retrospective exhibition at
Central Street, the only artist to be accorded such an honor.
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had spent the years 1959-62 in London, where he lived in share-houses
in West Hampstead and Ladbroke Grove with other young Australian
painters, notably Michael Johnson and Brett Whiteley. All three became
the great white hopes of Australian art during the sixties. Watkins
was the first of that diasporic generation to return from London
(1961), holding his first solo exhibition at Barry Stern Galleries in
Sydney in 1963.
Unlike most abstract painters of the time, he did not
work in series: he was conspicuous even at this early date for
deliberately unsettling the appearance of consistency in his exhibitions, as Paul McGillick has noted, by always including a work or two in a
contrasting style. Watkins' emblematic, compressed images from
the 1960s tended to be legible in the blink of an eye. By revoking
pictorial depth (or by making it indeterminate) he reduced the time it
took for a viewer to assimilate an image.
However, by the time he
painted Yesterday, hard-edge abstraction and most other idioms
associated with art of the sixties were on the wane: iconic images (a
kind of absolute) had ceded to relativity (more speculative and tenuous
approaches to composition); formalism had ceded to lyricism; hard edges
gave way to scatter and sprawl; the dialectic between cosmos and chaos
was back on the artist's agenda; images were slower to read, more
elusive, harder to "get". Jackson Pollock's visual language of
wave, particle and field was full of wonder, full of challenge for
Watkins who, in the early 1970s, produced many superbly accomplished
works in a more-or-less "Pollock" idiom, having realized, as Daniel
Thomas put it in a review, "the importance of not being too original."
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