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Kevin Conner, Self Portrait with Bird and other Works

Kevin Connor, Self Portrait with Bird and Other Works

Self portrait of Kevin Conner with bird

The Artist

Born in Sydney in 1932, Kevin, Leslie, Connor  studied between 1948 and 1949 at Jos Holloway's sketch club in Haymarket. He travelled extensively in the 1950s living and painting in the UK, USA, Canada Spain, the Middle East and Egypt.

Kevin Connor is one of Australia's finest urban expressionist painters known for his ability to capture the vibrancy and dynamism of unassuming scenes of the inner city and its various inhabitants (particularly Sydney where he spent much of his working life). Connor's figure compositions and city scenes have long been a strong subject matter in his work since the early 1980s. As a great observer, Connor can often be found sketching from life in his notebook in the streets of Sydney, Paris, New York and London. Representing his own narrative of a place whether in paint, charcoal, ink or gouache, Connor's view of the city is often a lonely place of flux. Although drawn from life, the paintings are occasionally memory-based or imaginary scenarios of a location's history where the  characters are captured in a moment in time.

Connnor's first solo exhibition was in 1962 and he has since held regular solo exhibitions in Manly, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, , Heide Park and Art Gallery, Melbourne, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, Broken HIll City Art Gallery and the Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney.

Connor has exhibitied in the Archibald Prize over 25 times and won the prestigeous art prize twice (1975 and 1977). He has also won the Sulman Prize twice and is the only artist to have won the Dobell Art Prize  twice (1992 and 2005). Connor has also been a finalist in the Wynne Art Prize in 2010.

In 1992,  Connor spent several weeks in Iraq, drawing and painting the war damaged areas around Amman and Baghdad after the first Gulf War. Some of these works are now in the permanent collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

[Image of Corner of Connor's Garden]

The Works of Art

The University of Canberra holds in its Art Collection two works by Kevin Connor. The first is a detailed study of foliage from Connor's own garden, titled, funilly enough, 'Corner of Connor's Garden.' Painted oil on canvas in 1974, is highly detailed which belies Connor's ability to observe even the finest of details. The second work is a charcoal and wash drawing of the artist with a bird. It is a simple line drawing but one full of life and movement. It shows Connor's ability to capture essential details to make his portraiture lifelike. The self portrait was created a little earlier than the first, in 1970. Both works of art have considerable value when compared to other examples of his works - some of which have been sourced and shown below.

Kevin Connor Sydney Harbour courtesy of Mutual Art Park bench Kevin ConnorView from inside of a bus by Kevin Connor

References

Kevin Connor entry by Artist Profile, https://www.artistprofile.com.au/kevin-connor/ viewed 21/05/2020

Kevin Connor entry (Wikipedia) , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Connor_(artist

Kevin Connor Design and Art Australia, https://www.daao.org.au/bio/kevin-connor/biography/

Kevin Connor, by Steve Lopes, Art Almanac, https://www.art-almanac.com.au/kevin-connor/

Alan & Susan McCulloch, The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1994. p175-6