Robert OWEN, Terminus #2 Enlarge 1 /1

Robert OWEN

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia born 1937

  • Greece 1963-66
  • England 1966-75, 1985
  • France 1988

Terminus #2 1970 Materials & Technique: sculptures, aluminium, perspex and oroglass

Primary Insc: No inscriptions
Dimensions: diamond 182.4 h x 182.4 w x 12.7 d cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of the Philip Morris Arts Grant 1982
Accession No: NGA 83.1623

Robert Hunter draws impetus from critical developments in American art of the 1960s, whereas Robert Owen associated with the British Constructionists when he lived in London in the late 1960s. As their name suggests, the Constructionists continued a European tradition of abstract art established in the early 20th century by Constructivism. A favoured object was the wall relief sculpture, mathematically conceived and fabricated from materials such as aluminium and perspex. Owen aligned himself with the group’s endeavours in his ‘kinetic reliefs’ and in his major piece, Terminus #2.

Oweninitially exhibited this work with the title Homage to Mondrian, a reference to the pioneering Dutch painter and member of the avant-garde group De Stijl. This early title suggests a debt to Mondrian’s grid compositions and diamond-shaped canvases and more broadly to the history of Modernism. Soon afterwards, Owen changed the title to Terminus #2. In erasing the original title and all its historical associations, Owen denied a simple narrative of modern art and acknowledged the diversity of contemporary practice in the 1970s.

Steven Tonkin

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002