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  • WhenForthcoming
  • CuratorTony Oates

Richard Larter has long been recognised as a founding father of Australian pop art, a role he, with typical contrariness, rejected. His working ethos was as a non-conformist, entirely anti-authoritarian, scorning of power inequity. Arresting, bold and daring, Larter’s painting found energy in a fusion of popular culture, mechanical reproduction, the power of the ‘image’, new science, page 3 smut, and global politics.

This exhibition locates Larter’s rich stream of luminous abstract paintings (many painted in Canberra) within the body of his figurative work. While informed by his adventures into popular culture these works are also firmly rooted in the histories of abstraction, holding great concern for composition and the formal dynamic relationships of colour, shape and line. Fluid, lyrical and improvised, Larter’s work refers to the energies of place and the politics of the times.

Life-long partners Richard and Pat Larter spent a large portion of their lives living in Yass, NSW and after Pat’s death in 1996, Richard moved to Canberra and became well-embedded within its cultural scene. Their influence was wide reaching and formative for several generations of Canberra artists.

Richard Larter, Cal-jo shift, 1970. Synthetic polymer paint, glitter on composition board, 122.2 × 185 cm. National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra. Purchased 1978. © Richard Larter/Copyright Agency

The Drill Hall Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, the traditional custodians of the Canberra region, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.