John Brack, Collins Street, 5pm, analysis.
By Khatia Shiuka
John Brack’s Collins St, 5p.m, 1955
oil on canvas
114.6 x 162.9 cm
Brack, the son of working-class parents, was a loner by nature.
John Brack was one of Australia's most outstanding artists, was born in Melbourne in 1920. Growing up in Hawthorn East "without pictures, without music", he discovered poetry and paintings for himself in the Reading Room of the State Library. Inspired by modern art, he enrolled in evening classes at the National Gallery School.
After war interrupted his studies, he returned as a mature student and worked towards an ironic style.For over forty years he was at the forefront of Australian art and produced some of most iconic images. He made an initial mark in the 1950's with works on then contemporary Australian culture, such as the iconic Collins Street, 5 pm (1955) and he is best known for the iconic Collins Street, 5 pm. In 1962 he became Head of the National Gallery Art School.
Collins St, 5p.m was painted in he's garage. The picture has been described as ‘arguably the only major existentialist painting to be produced in Australia. The colour and structure of the painting are vital to the meaning it conveys.
Repeated horizontal lines and intermittent vertical elements and
many sharp lines are used in this painting. The drab colours emphasize the depersonalization of the life. And almost same figures emphasize the uniformization, standardization in people's daily routine. On a gloomy evening in the central Melbourne, in the Victoria's capital city of Victoria, The Collins Street, It is 5 p.m. work is over for the day, the sallow-faced office workers in drab raincoats, the depressing grey facades. people walk in the same direction down a Collins Street, traffic, people is together alone, nameless and faceless, alienated by 9 to 5.. Destinations to railway stations, and a smile on the faces of the two women. This structure provides an overall sense of order to the composition and is reflective of Brack’s initial visual stimulus, the city of Melbourne, with its rigid geometric layout.
The 1955 painting won the people's choice poll to determine Victoria's top 10 works.
Battle, 1981, by John Brack
watercolour, pen and ink on paper
71.0 x 96.0 cm