Robert Boynes - Modern Times @ Drill Hall Gallery

23 June 2017

I am an unabashed fan of Robert Boynes; the man and the artist. He’s the consummate modern day artist with a style that reflects much of the angst of life, the grot and grit of the urban environment in a restricted palette that is vibrant, at times chilling, and a perceptive eye for the human in the ordinary.

His photographs become screen prints, he crushes the canvas for textural effect, but avoids great globs of paint that we see in works of many artists today. The result is the essential Boynes, visually exciting and inviting closer scrutiny.

His current exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery, curated thoughtfully for impact and balance by director Terence Maloon, is a joy to experience in this space that is an old Canberra treasure built to train soldiers for the Second World War and now refurbished to be one of our best galleries.

Robert Boynes Modern Times is a survey of his work from private and public collections and his own ‘shed’ reflecting on fifteen years of painting that began in Adelaide in the 60’s, bringing him to Canberra as the head of the Painting Workshop at the ANU School of Art from 1978 to retirement in 2006. But retirement for Boynes is a continuation of his artistic journey with bumps and brilliance along the way.

He showed me a painting of the stairs at my old school, Canberra High- that to my chagrin became the ANU School of Art- on his phone! Oh so many times up and down them and the last thing I’d think of painting. Along with many others from around the world that reflect on a long and fruitful journey that has seen his work evolve and become a signature style instantly recognised. More of the Boynes ‘Five Decades’ of work will be part of an exhibition opening on 15 July in Sydney’s May Space., George Street Waterloo.

But for Canberrans, make time to see this exceptional exhibition at the Drill Hall Galley until 13 August