Macquarie University Art Gallery

Macquarie University Art Gallery

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Michael Johnson
Sounion, 1990-1991
oil on canvas
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Dr Michael Fung

Macquarie University Art Collection

This dazzling and brilliant work by leading Australian abstract artist Michael Johnson has been truly uplifting to view during the COVID-19 lockdown time. The painting titled Sounion has recently been donated by Dr Michael Fung to the Macquarie University Art Collection and will be included in our upcoming virtual exhibition titled Uncurated.

The title stems and is evocative of the Sounion, the temple of Poseidon that sits on the edge of a cliff in Eastern Central Greece. The thin black lines looping in the middle ground are architecturally aligned to the construction of the temple rising above and hovering over the vastness of the ocean blue saturated within the background. The thin horizon line conjures the bright light of summer in Greece. The foreground reminiscent of the work of Ian Fairweather shows the complex patterning of the geological features of the cliff face. Colours splendidly interact within proportions that are seamlessly counterbalanced.  Sounion is a remarkable work and representative of the artist’s oeuvre.

In nature, colour creates optical intensity that distracts, it literally bends form. In paintings that use pure colour, the canvas can take on an almost sculptural quality. These are ideas that have been in place in my work from the early 60s onwards and in that time I did not mix colour or work tonally.

Michael Johnson, 2014

London Sydney New York Paintings and Works on Paper 1960s & 1970s exhibition catalogue, Annette Larkin Fine Art, 2014


Macquarie University Art Gallery is a member of University Art Museums AustraliaUAMA

The Macquarie University Art Gallery offers regular, changing exhibition programs to engage audiences from all walks of life.

Take a look at our notable past exhibitions.

Content owner: Library Last updated: 18 May 2020 4:26pm

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