Peter Upward was a key figure in Australian lyrical abstraction. His gestural, calligraphic works are possibly the closest Australia came to mid-twentieth century American Abstract Expressionism. In recent years a new generation of curators and critics, including Christopher Dean and Christine France, have written on the complex and valuable contribution of this innovative and remarkable pure abstractionist to the development of minimalism and contemporary Australian art. (Joanna Mendelsshon and Greta Stevens, 2012)
Upward first exhibited in Melbourne in the late 1950s and his work was included in the landmark 1963-4 exhibition Australian Painting Today, which toured Australia's public institutions before travelling to Europe. In 1984, the Art Gallery of New South Wales staged a survey of Upward's work. More recently, the retrospective Frozen Gestures: The Art of Peter Upward was exhibited at Penrith Regional Gallery in 2007. Upwards work is represented in Australia's most significant public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia and Queensland Art Gallery.
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