Tony Clark   
Design for a Chinoiserie Landscape (Rheinfall), 2017 , Synthetic Polymer on Canvas, 36 x 180 cm

Tony Clark, born 1954, Canberra, Australia. Lives and works in Sicily, Italy and Essen, Germany

Tony Clark made his artistic debut in 1982 and subsequently established his reputation with what he calls the “atmospheric landscape paintings” he is still best known for. Alongside these paintings Clark was experimenting with what he describes as an almost opposite approach: to create works inspired by the decorative arts and a Renaissance tradition of paintings that use pictorial illusion to imitate sculptural relief. In this vein, Clark describes seeing Andrea Mantegna’s painting The Introduction of the Cult of Cybele at Rome (1505–06) in the National Portrait Gallery, London, as critical to the creation of his Chinoiserie series.

“I was becoming immersed in these atmospheric landscape paintings and I wanted to do something that was almost the opposite of that in the way that it was painted. So, if you look at these paintings a lot of them look like relief sculpture.” Clark says.
“The Chinoiserie works were a break-out for me because I wasn’t tied to the atmospheric paintings. I discovered that the colour itself could provide the atmosphere but not in this glazed, illusionistic way.”

For Clark, Chinoiserie presented a way of exploring Australia’s place in the world.