'Exercise ' 1967
Gift of Lucy Swanton 1981
Richard Larter is one of Australia's great colourists. He is also one of this country's liveliest artists, whose works are at times provocative, dazzling and lyrical. Over more than fifty years he has created works in a wide range of mediums that engage with the fullness of life.
Larter emigrated to Australia from England in 1962. He arrived with his wife, Pat, an artist in her own right as well as her husband's muse and collaborator. By the time of their arrival, Larter had already been producing abstract and figurative work.
While the dotting in Exercise may seem like a reference to some Indigenous art, it had quite a different starting point. Larter's source of inspiration was the work of the French Pointillists, such as Georges Seurat, who were known for their technique of applying tiny dots of colour to their paintings. Like Seurat, Larter developed a keen interest in the science of colour.
Another early inspiration was a visit Larter made to Algiers in North Africa, where he saw firsthand the luminous colours of Islamic art. In Exercise dots of varied size flow in curvilinear patterns across the surface. They are layered over vertical bands of colour so pure and vibrant that the combined effect is to dazzle the eye and lift our spirits.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008