Jeeralang homestead, 1974
synthetic polymer paint on archival board
52.7 x 49.0 cm
1974 Rural Victoria
Living and teaching in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley during the 1970s had a strong impact on Terry Batt’s art.
While many fellow artists reorientated their practice away from the studio and towards environmental art and ephemeral happenings, Batt took the opposite approach. He invested his time and effort in easel painting by focussing on its endless possibilities.
Jeeralang Homestead, 1974, features a flat expanse of Pthalo blue, punctuated by vertical pink splashes and horizontal lines of screaming bright yellow and green. The atmospheric qualities of paintings from the same year such as Latrobe Valley clouds have been taken away and the pictorial surface is monochrome and intentionally flat.
Batt’s career-defining interest in relational colour principles is enhanced by commercial acrylic paints mixed with pigments and binders that he purchased from Marcus Art store in Melbourne. Absorbed into the archival board, the surface produces saturated layers of colour that are reminiscent of poster painting. Combined with a child-like figurative element that represents the artist and his wife’s house, the picture is inspired ostensibly by British Pop.
When one contemporary art critic wrongly suggested that Batt had been influenced by New York-styled abstract painting, Batt resolved to go there to see these paintings for himself.