Albert Tucker comes into the limelight with Meditation on a Bone: Albert Tucker Beyond the Modern which looks at how his fascination with art of the past and other cultures informed his painting over the decades.

Guest curator and ceramicist, Glenn Barkley searched Tucker’s library and archive for images of the mask—an age-old and culturally loaded motif that has inspired artists across time. Along with iconic paintings from across Tucker’s career, the display includes books, photographs and archival material from his personal collection, together with works by a range of modernist and contemporary artists—including Barkley—who use the mask literally and conceptually as a way to obscure meaning, invite nostalgia, and connect histories.

‘Reading though Tucker’s library, it is revealing how many of his books include images of masks as well as images that turn objects into dramatise personae. Tucker uses the mask as a way of hiding or illuminating aspects of personality through his paintings; his antipodean heads have a particular abstracted mask-like appearance derived from Etruscan antiquity, while the figures in his late series, Faces I Have Met, have a distinctly mask-like countenance."

"He was also a collector of Papua New Guinean masks and had an extensive collection of books about non-Western and non-Anglo cultures that included images of ceremonial and cultural significance, says Curator Glenn Barkley. The exhibition, Meditation on a Bone, offers an opportunity to bring Tucker’s library and archive into a new context as a machine for making art, says Glenn.

"The exhibition has brought other artists and their objects into that dialogue and the exhibition has works by Laurence Aberhart, Lynda Draper, Tony Albert, Karla Dickens, Tom Polo and Tarryn Gill, among others, whose works expand on the mask as a subject. The artworks unnervingly return the viewer’s gaze—sometimes mute but never blank—suggesting the masks everyone uses to negotiate daily life," Glenn says.

See more details of the Meditation on a Bone: Albert Tucker Beyond the Modern on their website here.


Date: 1 Sept - 24 February 2019

Location: Museum of Modern Art Heide - Heide III: Albert and Barbara Tucker Gallery

Address: 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen

Times: Tuesday to Sunday; 10am - 5pm. Closed Mondays except for public holidays

Heide Museum of Modern Art Website

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