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Graham Kuo Harbour Mist and other Works

Graham Kuo: Harbour Mist and Other Works of Art

Graham Kuo profile

The Artist

Graham Kuo was born in China in 1949 but later immigrated to Australia in 1963. Kuo attended the National Art School shortly after between 1968 and 1972 , graduating as an Associate of Sydney technical College. Kuo held a number of teaching posts after graduating. He was a full-time lecturer at the Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education from 1976 to 191, City Art Institute, 1982 to 1989 and the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, 2000-2004. Kuo has also travelled widely across USA, Europe and Asia.

Graham Kuo is represented by his works of art in the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Art Gallery of South Australia, the Queensland Art Gallery, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art  Gallery, Hobart, the Western Australia Art Gallery and many more. Kuo has also exhibited his works of art in over forty solo exhibitions in Australia and internationally.

Harbour Mist by Graham Kuo

The Works of Art

Graham Kuo's works of art aim to reconcile two very different artistic traditions. According to Art Atrium's interview with the artist, Kuo is recorded as saying: 'My work has, for some time now reflected a preoccupation with effecting an aesthetic reconciliation between a Western abstract sensibility with a uniquely Chinese form of calligraphic mark-making, through a visual language of gestural, lyrical abstraction, with colour and form assuming dominance over figuration or representation. Space is a critical aspect of my work with bold calligraphic brush marks, frequently in black but with traces of colour flickering within then, suspended within an ambiguous space created by the white of the primed canvas and contrasting with area of chromatic brilliance in textures ranging from ephemeral cloudllike forms to densely applied raised areas.

This visual language is derived from two distinct cultural and aesthetic influences- the general stylistic language of 20th Century Abstract Expressionism and lyrical abstraction, and the Chinese Buddhist tradition of calligraphy. Although working in a Western medium my work draws heavily on the contemplative and instinctive mark-making of Chinese  calligraphy with images which  evolve and grow organically rather than to a preconceived or contrived plan.

Chinese Green by Graham Kuo Reflections 1 by Graham Kuoo

The styles described above can be clearly seen in all three works held by the University of Canberra. Harbour Mist is an extremely colourful work of art with splashes of colour and shading that makes the work look nearly three dimensional. Smaller flecks of colour betray the caligraphy techniques ascribed to Kuo. Likewise, 'Chinese Green' is awash in a riot of colour. Whereas Harbour Mist refers to a more sedate nature to the brush strokes and patterns, those of Chinese Green seem to suggest the opposite. Again in contrast to both Harbour Mist and Chinese Green is Kuo's Reflections 1. Painted in 1973, this work alludes to western 'pop art' with the style of seemingly profile faces, yellow on red tiles. The black swirled brush-strokes allude to the Chinese caligraphic styles.  There is a sense of beauty in Kuo's attempted reconciliation in his art forms. Kuo's works show how different art traditions can be used to complement each other.


Graham Kuo entry: Art Atrium,

Graham Kuo: