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David Schlunke Air

David Schlunke: Air

David Schlunke self portrait

The Artist

David Schlunke's art is an interesting mix of environmentalism and art. As David himself confesses, his style of work is  ecological surrealism if a journalistic and simplistic label is needed. According to his own website and blog pages, David was born in Temora  District Hospital in 1942 to a family with very much a rural background. He studied at the Eastern Sydney Technical College (according to Alan and Susan McColluch) before going to University in New England,leaving University early  after the 2nd term, David had already at this point formed a relationship with Arthur Murch and his family and in 1961/62 assisted Arthur in painting the mural in the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay. By the mid 1960s, David was painting and exhibiting his own work. In 1963, Schlunke won the Rural Bank Art Prize at the Royal Easter Show, then aged only 21. He went onto exhibit in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. He even exhibited his works overseas with an exhibition in Madrid in 1985.

An accomplished artist, David has had works selected for both Wynne and Archibald prizes. For the latter, David submitted a self portrait and images of the poet Douglas Stewart and the journalist Neil O'Reilly. His works are represented in the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Bank, the Reserve Bank and Manly Art Gallery.

David Schlunke, Air

The Work of Art

Like many of David Schlunke's canvases, 'Air' depicts the Australian bush. As a committed environmentalist and conservationist, his works naturally depict the subjects he has come to enjoy and love. The work, which is composed of gum trees and rich foliage has a sense of expressionist influence to it. The leaves forms patterns that are reminiscent of a Renior, Monet or Cezanne. The work was painted and acquired in 1974.  The work can be favourably compared with many of Schlunke's other works which depict the rainforest. 'And the Rainforest Will Return to the Desert' and 'An Eiffel Tower in Big Bush' shown on David's own website are somewhat darker in nature. For the latter, David is said to have placed an Eiffel Tower 'upside-down' in the picture as it seemed the best way to fit it . The painting was fun to produce. It looks intriguing and that is all that the artist wanted.

Eiffel Tower by David Schlunke

Although this is the sole work of David Schlunke in the Art Collection, the University has other works of a similar nature which are well worth comparing and exploring. These include those of Percy Tresize, 'Cape Tribulation' and  Anthea Moffat's South Coast Landscape.


Trove, entry for David Schlunke

David Schlunke, My life and art,

Alan and Susan McColloch, The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen and Unwin, 1994, Sydney