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 John Richard Howley  (1931 - )

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Lived/Active: Australia      Known for: fantastic realist paintings

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in Melbourne/Australia (1931) and educated in Brisbane, John entered Melbourne’s National Gallery Art School’ s four-year diploma course where he mainly studied drawing and the art of the painters of the Renaissance.

His first significant group exhibition was at the Victorian Artists’ Society in Melbourne, as member of the ‘Group Four’, which caused a major furore by introducing the latest modern semi-abstract styles.

In his early years John was influenced by German Expressionism before he established himself as a painter of the school known as Fantastic Realism.

He is known for his bright colours and his tendency to ritualise our technological age with robotic or android like figures, geometrical design being the main feature.

Howley has murals at the Tullamarine Airport and The Royal Children Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He has painted around 1500 works including 80 portraits. Howley has had 43 solo exhibitions in Australia and overseas and has had numerous group shows.

He is in private and public collection in Australia, and private collections in Europe, Israel and America.

A Short Chronology:
1955 worked in co-operation with John Perceval at the Arthur
Merrick Boyd Pottery, Melbourne
1956 lecture tour with CAE
1962-1967 traveled and worked in Europe and Israel
Art teacher in Melbourne (Caulfield and Prahran Colleges)
1980-1990 co-owner of Acland Street Art Gallery
1990-1997 moved to Flagship Studio, Williamstown
1998/1999 travelling exhibition to Poland
2003 visiting artist at Salmagundi Arts Club, New York
2007 moved to his new studio in Maldon, Victoria

Selected Solo Exhibitions:
1956 Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne
1957 Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne
1966 Katz Gallery, Tel Aviv
Gallery 220, Tel Aviv
Gallery Rena, Jerusalem
1967 Yehuda Galleries, Tel Aviv
Gallery 220, Tel Aviv
1968 Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
1969 The Arts Council Gallery, Sydney
1970-71 Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
1973 South Yarra Gallery, Melbourne
1976 Warehouse Gallery, Melbourne
Mount Scopus Memorial Collage, Melbourne
Melbourne Collectors Gallery, Perth
1978 Collectors’ Lithograph, Melbourne
1979 Victor Mace Fine Art Gallery, Brisbane
Owen Dixon Chambers, Melbourne
1992 Retrospective Exhibition of Portraits, Edzell House, Melbourne
1999 Touring Exhibition in Poland
2005 Victorian Artists’ Society, Melbourne

Selected Group Exhibitions:
1954 ‘Group Four’ Victorian Artists’ Society, Melbourne
1955 ‘Group Four’ Johnstone Gallery, Brisbane
1956 ‘Group Four’ Victorian Artists’ Society
Pacific Loan Exhibition, San Francisco
1961 Whitechapel Gallery, London
1962 New Vision Gallery, London
1963 Städtisches Museum, Frankfurt
1979 National Gallery of Victoria
1985 Centre Art Galleries, Maui/Hawaii
Gallery of University of Colorado Springs, USA
1991 Qdos’ Australian Painters, Japan and Hong Kong
Group show, Flagship Studio, Melbourne
Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne
1995 Monash University Gallery, Melbourne
1996 Doug Moran Art Prize finalist
The Old Treasury Building, Melbourne
Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Melbourne
1998 Swing time, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Perth
1999 ‘We are Australians’, Touring exhibition, Australia
Artists against War, Melbourne Fringe Exhibition

Selected Bibliography:
1968 Alan McCulloch, Encyclopaedia of Australian Art, Hutchinson
1970 Kim Bonython, Modern Australian Painting, Rigby
1971 Bernard Smith, Australian Painting 1870-1970, Oxford
1971 Review by John Olsen, Art in Australia Vol 8 No 4
1971 Mark Strizic, Howley Photopoem
1975 Ronald Millar, Civilized Magic, Sorett
1976 Illustration to H. Roskolenko’s poetry book ‘W A S”
1979 Max Germaine, Artists and Galleries of Australia and New
Zealand, Landsdowne
1981 Art & Artists of Australia, Macmillan Australia
1983 Kim Bonython, Modern Australian Painting 1975-1980, Rigby
1985 Art Calendar for Australian Information Service, Walter Alteri Printing
1986 Geoffrey Dutton, The Innovators, Macmillan Australia
1988 The 1989 Australian Art Diary, Prendergast Publishers, Melbourne
1994 Neville Drury, New Art Eight, Craftsman House, Sydney
1995 Christopher Heathcote, A Quiet Revolution, The Text Publishing, Melbourne
1998 Swingtime, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery catalogue
1999 We Are Australian, Australian Multicultural Foundation

Information courtesy of Valeria Nemes

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