- Developing a visual language
- A political minefield
- Art and the theatre of life
- A room for Pat
Developing a visual language
Richard Larter’s art of the early to mid 1960s conveys his developing interest in the human condition and his innovative approaches to painting. The range of works reveal his spirit of technical and stylistic experimentation and includes varied depictions of the human figure, especially the female nude.
A number of works in this room incorporate linear rhythms and richly textured surfaces created with a hypodermic syringe. As Larter explains:
In 1956 I started teaching and in Camden Town while waiting for a bus home I was staring into a medical supplies shop window … In amongst the artificial limbs were open boxes holding hypodermic syringes. Something like St Paul on the road to Damascus I had this vision of myself filling a syringe with paint and varying the finger pressure on the plunger, almost writing with paint.
Before arriving in Australia from England in 1962, Larter had seen the work of many of the great European artists who often painted female models. He particularly admired the French artists Edouard Manet, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Matisse and Edgar Degas, as well as the Viennese secessionists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. Larter regarded the women who modelled for him, especially his wife Pat, as the expression of positive energy against the negative censorious attitudes of bureaucratic officials.