Fine Arts, Sydney

Julian Dashper
6 April - 19 May, 2018

Fine Arts, Sydney is presenting an exhibition of paintings by Julian Dashper from 1984.

Julian Dashper’s work of the early 1980s was made at a moment when painting was regaining critical currency through international postmodernism’s absorption of post-structural theory and new perspectives on expressionism, geometric abstraction, and conceptual art. Dashper’s work was intended to be good to look at and good to think about, and throughout the decade of the 1980s his work appropriated the style and technique of painterly, expressionistic abstraction.

The paintings in this exhibition were made early in Dashper’s career, when he was supporting himself by driving taxis at night. Each night he fixed his attention on a different taxi rank and made small studies on a drafting board mounted to the dash while waiting for fares. After completing his shift in the morning, he would go to his studio and work these studies into larger paintings. Each painting is titled after the names of these ranks.

These paintings were exhibited together in June 1984, at a temporary space that Dashper initiated in a vacant office building, for what was his first solo exhibition after art school. This exhibition is the first time these paintings have been exhibited in more than thirty years.

As an important figure in the recent history of contemporary art in Australasia, Dashper’s work and practice has remained influential for the generations of artists and arts professionals that have followed. He was an enthusiastic and prolific maker of exhibitions who continued to show work at museums, public institutions, galleries, artist-run spaces, and alternative venues in Australasia, Europe, and the United States throughout his career.

Dashper’s work was always intensely engaged with the subject of art, and more specifically to do with the ways that art and art ideas are made and circulated. His work focused on the histories and theories of abstraction, conceptualism and minimalism, and often concerned connections between art and popular culture. Recurring themes in his work are the persistent orthodoxies of regionalism and internationalism, the experience of art in reproduction, readings of international modernism in Australasia, and the distances that have uniquely informed Australasian experiences of art making and art history.

Julian Dashper was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1960, and studied at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts 1978-1981. He lived in Auckland and travelled extensively, maintaining an especially close connection with Australia. He died in Auckland in 2009 at the age of 49.

Fine Arts, Sydney is grateful to the Julian Dashper Estate in the making of this exhibition.