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 Kenneth Ronald Whisson  (1927 - )

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Lived/Active: Australia      Known for: painting and sculpture

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from Auction House Records.
Flag to Replace the Red and Blue Ensigns (Flag of My Disposition No.14), 1980
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Deutscher and Hackett Melbourne:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Kenneth Ronald Whisson ( b.1927)

Although previously overlooked or marginalized as an 'outsider' within the annals of Australian art, today Whisson is universally celebrated as one of the most important and unconventional artists of our time.  Based in Perugia, Italy since 1977, during his early years Whisson was a peripheral member of the group including Nolan, Boyd and Tucker who immersed themselves in the cultural ferment of the forties with John and Sunday Reed at Heide.  Notably, he also studied with Cossack émigré artist Danila Vassilieff, under whose tutelage the younger artist not only embraced a predominantly expressionistic figurative style but gleaned a lifelong commitment to anarchism and non-conformity.  Yet despite such seminal influences, the highly personal and unique vision that so distinguishes his mature work deliberately eludes affinity with any other artist or school.  Rather, 'intuition' is the critical guiding force for Whisson, unleashing the creative impulse without prejudice or preconception to engage with a more fundamental reality.  As the artist elucidates, 'style as presupposition blocks creativity ... art is far too complex to be thought and has to come from a whole complex of intuitive processes, from an intuitive focussing of memories, ideas, emotions, including seed and new beginnings left somewhere in the mind from past work. It comes from a focussing of all the different levels of consciousness.'1   Inextricably linked is Whisson's fervent belief that an artist 'must continually reinvent himself if he is to remain creatively fresh, thereby avoiding the pattern of a brief flowering and slow decline that has been the fate of so many well-known Australian painters.'2  Rejecting notions of skill or style 'that close one down', he reiterates that he has spent his entire life trying to 'avoid good technique' and to maintain 'a blank mind for a blank canvas'.3 

1. Whisson, K., 'Technique and Intuition, Talk 1994' reproduced in Ken Whisson: Paintings 1947-1999, Niagara Publishing, Melbourne, 2001, p. 43 2. McDonald, J., 'Ken Whisson: Matter and Memory', cited ibid., p. 8 3. Whisson cited in Ken Whisson: Paintings 1957-1985, Broken Hill City Art Gallery, New South Wales, 1987, p. 18 VERONICA ANGELATOS

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