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Robert Boynes, Observer and Observed

Robert Boynes Observer and Observed

Observer and Observed by Robert Boynes

According to the Beaver Art Galleries, 'Robert Boynes (father of Alexander) is a consummate master of both technique and observation. Consisting largely of studies of the human figure located within unspecified urban environments, his work focuses on the anonymity of much contemporary social interaction.' Many of Robert’s  images incorporate references to cinema, televised news coverage and closed circuit TV footage. Robert transposes this raw material into exhilarating paintings which remind us that modernity is an amalgam of the impersonal forms and colours. 1

Born in Adelaide, Robert studied at the South Australian School of Art in the early 1960s and began teaching in 1964. He was heard of Painting at the Canberra School of Art for 27 years and is currently Adjunct Associate Professor at the ANU School of Art. Robert has an extensive exhibition history and has had over 60 solo shows across Australia, the UK and USA. His work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia as wells as all Australian State Galleries, Parliament House, Artbank and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.2

This work of art, 'Observer and Observed', is a classic Robert Boynes creation. The scene is very much an urban environment with figures that may well have been taken from closed circuit television cameras. It conjures up a 'big brother' sense, which is emphasized with the title.

The University of Canberra has other works by Robert Boynes in its collection. 'Those Lifeless Things' is an earlier work and depicts a series of monoliths in a modern setting.


1  'Robert Boynes', Artist  profiile, Beaver Galleries, Accessed 8 September 2017,

2 Ibid

Other  Sources

On Artist's file (Curator's cabinet), Tales of the Unexpected Aspects of contemporary Australian Art, Robert Boynes, National Gallery of Australia

Robert Boynes,  Profile Robert Boynes, accessed 3/30/2020,

Nevill Drury , 'Robert Boynes;, Australian Painting Now, G & B Arts International 2000