Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Annandale Imitation Realists

The Art of parts: collage and assemblage from the collection,
17 Sep – 13 Nov 2016 AGNSW featured works by two of
the Annandale Imitation Realists. The Beautiful One is Here,
Mike Brown, 1969-70 (above) and The Dry Salvages,
Colin Lancely, 1963-64. (below)

tryptitch assemblage on red background

Annandale Imitation Realists

"In 1960 the 22-year-old Mike Brown joined the New Zealand artist, Ross Crothall, in an old terrace house in inner Sydney's Annandale. Over the following two years the artists filled the house with a remarkable body of work. Launched with an equally extraordinary exhibition, the movement they called Imitation Realism introduced collage, assemblage and installation to Australian art for the first time..." - 3.Sailing to Byzantium: Annandale Imitation Realism (1960-62) 2011, English, Book, Illustrated edition: Permanent revolution : Mike Brown and the Australian avant-garde 1953-1997 / Richard Haese.

"By 1960, Crothall and Brown were living together in a house Crothall had rented in Annandale and Lanceley was a frequent visitor...The group ended in 1964 when Lanceley departed for Europe."

"Colin Lanceley first came to notice in the early 1960s" - (14 March 2011)
"Brown's philosophy was simple: ''We have forgotten that art isn't some special condiment you splash on life to make it taste a little better." - (November 12, 2011)

"Crothall’s experience of art in New Zealand meant that he was able to present new possibilities for the work of a group of Sydney art students, some of whom would become the Imitation Realists. Their work was shaped by the awareness of indigenous art forms of the Pacific" - (Winter 2007)

The Art Gallery of NSW has two catalogues from the group's exhibitions. The catalog (SA709.94/18) for the exhibition at the Rudy Komon Gallery, 124 Jersey Road Wollahra, is entitled the Subterranean Imitation Realists formerly of Annandale, with cover design Title Lettering credited to R Crothall, the Central Drawing to Colin Lancely and the "Motifs above and below" to Mike Brown. 177 works are listed including 5 "Joint Works" and individual "exhibits". The exhibition included Byzantium, which is now in the NGA's Collection. The catalog carries a description (advertisement) of the services provided by the Rudy Komon Gallery and credits the printers, with a comment that their payment was dependent on the sale of artworks.

In the catalog (SA709.94/19) for the exhibition at the "Museum of Modern Art of Australia" under "Words Words Words - William Shakespeare, English Poet, d 1616" Elwyn Lynn wrote, on 3/2/62 at Double Bay, "Junk Culture is the culture of cities and expropriates its environment in Annandale for Crothall and Brown timber off-cuts and waste metal were readily available; Lancely (and later, Brown) found Woolworths handy and cheap."

The handwritten and illustrated catalog also included Joint Works and statements and individual works from "Countdown Lancely", "Poncho Brown" and Crotheral:
 "Byzantium is a collaborative work that encapsulates the freewheeling, experimental spirit of the early 1960s. It was created by Mike Brown, Ross Crothall and Colin Lanceley"...National Gallery of Australia 88.645

National Portrait Gallery

Colin Lanceley
Mike Brown

Further Reading

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