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Ildiko Kovacs

T.T.  2004

synthetic polymer paint on masonite

63.5 × 64 × 4cm framed

Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Ann Lewis AO, 2009


About the Artwork

T.T. shows the influence of Aboriginal painting on non-Aboriginal artists, an important development in contemporary Australian art. Ildiko Kovacs’ practice is strongly process-based, in which she builds her images by layering, accumulating and removing paint over time. Kovacs’ paintings are distinguished by their surface effects, luminosity and organic use of line, which together create the illusion of depth and movement. A 1995 trip around Australia took Kovacs to Broome where she came in contact with Aboriginal art. This experience was pivotal in shifting her focus from European and American painting traditions to the Australian landscape and artists.

Kovacs’ work can also be placed within a European art-historical lineage, drawing as it does on abstract expressionism’s prioritising of process and gesture in mark-making. Kovacs builds up her paintings in thick applications of lines and shapes which follow the movements of her body as she works. She then removes layers and works up others over time, allowing the final work to emerge and take shape.
Updated and approved August 2016.

The line is a metaphor for me, my nature. Ultimately the process of painting is for me an intuitive one.
Ildiko Kovacs, Art Collector Magazine, no. 53, 2010, p.136.

Ildiko Kovacs

– About the artist

Born 1962, Sydney. Lives and works Sydney.

Ildiko Kovacs has been exhibiting since the 1980s and has been shown in a number of group exhibitions, including the Wynne Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2014); Crossing Paths II, Raft Art Space, Alice Springs (2013); and Fieldwork, Bathurst Regional Gallery, NSW (2011) and MCA, Sydney (2010). Kovacs’ work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, NSW; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Bathurst Regional Gallery, NSW; and various private collections.

Email from artist 15.3.2012
Short statement on practice:

I usually work on the floor and walk around the painting. I prefer working on a human scale as this allows a physicality with the work I build up the surface which involves wiping paint off, reapplying it and working with the residue. Eventually this builds up layers, as this happens form emerges and starts to dictate the next mark. The painting process for me is instinctive and unplanned and is about reacting and responding to the marks and the materials in use.

'The line motivates her practice and endures as the key element to generate meaning. Kovacs has described the line as
metaphor for landscape as well as personification of her own nature’

Extract from 'Down The Line 1980-2010 – Daniel Mudie Cunningham

Career Bio:

My Art education started the age of 17. I studied for 3 years. In1980 I travelled to Europe to look at Museums and Galleries. I came back to Australia and began painting. In 1986 I began Exhibiting with Garry Anderson who was instrumental in the development of my early career. He passed away in 1991 and I self exhibited for 9 yrs. in Sydney. I enjoyed great support from the likes of Hugh Jamerson, The Lavertys and Anne Lewis throughout my career. In 1995 I took a trip around Australia and ended up for a time in Broome. This trip was pivotal in shifting my focus from European and American paintings to The Australian Landscape and Artists. These experiences brought about a new found confidence and clarity in my painting. In 2005 the line works created with brushes came to it’s natural conclusions and from here on I have been experimenting with rollers which has opened up a new mark making process.

Learn more
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