Overview

‘My influences are the people that I meet, whether it’s an exorcist priest, or a criminal or a fortune teller or an Aboriginal elder. It really is those interactions with those people that give me the desire to make the work.

Hamilton-born artist Richard Lewer works and lives in Melbourne, Australia. In 1992 Richard earned his Bachelor of Fine Art from Elam School of Fine Art, Auckland University, and in 2000, his Master of Visual Arts from Victoria College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. Among the few trans-Tasman artists with a significant practice in New Zealand as well as Australia, Richard exhibits regularly, has taken up residencies and received numerous awards in both countries.  

 

Working across a range of mediums, his art explores the intimate, though at times uncomfortable, terrain of his own personal history, as well as the history of his adopted country Australia. His works speak to what is familiar and relatable about human connection and experience, resonating in their portrayal of family, friends, sport mates, childhood scenes and recent family developments.

 

At once simplified and stylised, figures and settings convey their own narratives with compassion and humour that are distinctly his own. Lewer describes himself as a social realist - though with a contemporary idiolect - and explores the idiosyncratic, marginal tales of unlikely real-life. His stripped-back, candid depictions lay bare, without artifice, what is beautiful and sinister about society, without the hindrance of a moralising or politicising tone.

Richard is the recipient of many awards and prizes. Most recently, he was selected among nine artists commissioned by the Art Gallery of New South Wales to create a major new work for the art museum campus. This will be the largest commissioning program since the public institution opened 150 years ago.

 

 

Quotation from Victoria Hynes' Artist Review.

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