7 September 2015

Robert MacPherson 'The Painter's Reach' at GOMA

Words: Saskia Edwards
Images: Jonathan Rae

At times while walking through Robert MacPherson’s ‘The Painter’s Reach’ show, you feel like you could be at your local grocer, or driving through a small town somewhere like the Granite Belt. 

The exhibition revels in the everyday. There’re signs with mundane and sometimes surreal messages splashed onto them - always in the bold, imposing and rusticated style of MacPherson. Many of the works have a dry, rough feeling about them, much like the nature of processed wood and some of Australia’s landscape. And objects of everyday life are celebrated like benches, shirts, dry cleaning.

More than 40 years of MacPherson’s career is explored in this retrospective. It looks at his process, obsession with the medium of paint and social commentary. That includes a reflection on the history of “miracle drug” M & B 693 to treat gonorrhoea.

But throughout Robert MacPherson’s works there seems to be something inherently, and evocatively Australian. Each of his works conjure up a memory, understanding and distinct feeling of what Australian life is.

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