Black Friars Bridge, London, 2000
watercolour on paper
28 x 36 cm image; 52 x 68 cm framed
signed and dated ‘Rick Amor 17/4/00’ (lower left)
Tony Palmer Art Dealer, Sydney
Acquired from the above by the present owners
Rick Amor is inspired by dreams and memories, seeking out a mix of subconscious and observed subjects from plein air studies to populate his paintings. These elements are “all assembled to reinvent my memory”, he says, to produce works that fall partway between a realist and surrealist depiction of suburban life.
Born in 1948, Amor recalls his childhood in Frankston, Victoria – a small beachside town at the end of the railway line: ‘There were always things washed up, strange objects. People drowning and storms blowing up. The weather in my paintings comes from those early experiences. I still dream about them.' (Josephine Rowe, “Rick Amor is a painter”, Dumbo Feather, no. 32, 1 July 2012.) He trained at the Caulfield Institute of Technology, Melbourne, from 1965, and then the National Gallery School from 1966 to 1968, where he learned painting under John Brack alongside fellow artist Jeffrey Bren.
Amor credits Joan Miro, as well as Brack, as key influences in his early paintings, which featured strong outlines and bright colours in works that were almost Cubist. But, especially from the 1980s, Amor’s work became more consistently embedded in natural and urban landscapes that call to mind artists as disparate as Gustave Courbet, Edward Hopper, Jeffrey Smart or Giorgio de Chirico. In his paintings, as well as in his drawings and prints, there are figures or landscapes in motion, yet there is always a countervailing sense of stillness, as if each image is a snapshot from the artist’s memory rather than a faithful depiction of reality.
Amor has exhibited since 1974 and has received a number of major exhibitions and surveys in Australian public institutions, including Rick Amor: Contemporary Romantic, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2017); Rick Amor: 21 Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra (2014). In 1999 Amor was appointed Australia’s Official War Artist to East Timor, the first war artist since the Vietnam War. The major survey Rick Amor: A Single Mind was presented at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne in 2008 looking at paintings and drawings dating from 1966.
In 2001, The Miegunyah Press published The Solitary Watcher: Rick Amor and his Art, a biography by Gary Catalano and, in 2008 The Beagle Press published the monograph Rick Amor by Gavin Fry.