There is such a visceral immediacy, physical energy and drama in Anton Holzner’s paintings that it is difficult to reconcile that they are the work of a man in his late seventies. Indeed his art has remained fresh and vigorous throughout fifty or more years. Long experience has however given him greater freedom as well as absolute mastery over means, so his recent paintings are every bit as spirited as those of his youth but with added complexity, subtlety and authority.
From the initial welter of mark and gesture in paint on canvas, Anton refines, edits and distils, seeking order out of chaos in intensity sustained painting sessions, completing each work in one sitting, Pictorial resolution is invariably in the union between form and space, be that architectonic, suggestive of landscape or fleetingly, the human figure.
There is a particular incandescence in the paintings of his maturity that reflects Anton’s undiminished engagement with his art. An abstract expressionist almost from the start, Anton sets out to revivify the broad range of gestures with each work, their differences suggesting varying states of his mind or moods.
The Australian landscape has provided him with considerable stimulus since first arriving in 1955:
“…the desert, the vast open spaces… that primeval quality… gave me an enormous insight into my own being, forming my character as a painter… Those rolling hills, those empty barren spaces, they have something eerie; and the sky in that vast space which I had never experienced anywhere else in the world.”
Nevertheless his sensibility is unmistakably northern European and romantic, with a decided taste for metaphysics:
“…I am more attracted by the open-form world; the form world which isn’t entirely given to a contour or a specific name which we recognise. What i aspire to is a more cosmic point of view. Clouds which move all the time, mountains and streams, which are loaded with images in flux, and of course organic forms with human connotations… I create symbols of my own… moods of landscapes which not only transcend the landscape I am in, but maybe even suggest a landscape beyond our earth…”
Born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1935, the son of an academic artist, Anton Holzner studied theatre design and worked as a theatre painter in Innsbruck and Liz before moving to Australia and settling in Adelaide. he taught at the South Australian School of Art 1955 – 1961 and 1964 – 1969, before moving to Hobart where he was a senior lecturer in painting at the Tasmanian School of Art 1971 – 1979. He has travelled extensively in Europe, India, the middle East, Mexico and China, and worked as a builder, on two occasions designing and construction his own house and studio in the Tasmanian countryside of Bagdad and Huonville,
Having lived in Tasmania for over forty years, its landscape and relative isolation has had a decided influence on him, notably the extremes of weather, wilderness, mountains, a small population and fraught colonial history. Perhaps that and his Tyrolean heritage accounts for the undercurrent of poetic melancholy in his paintings.
Friday 19 – Monday 29 November 2021
10:30am – 6:00pm daily
Thursday 18 November 2021, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Exhibition to be opened by Dr Ingo Farin