This is the first survey of the development of the work of Jan Senbergs, whose beginnings as an apprentice screenprinter after he left school at 15 (rather than attending art school), provided him with the initial means to make art. Born in Latvia in 1939, he came to Australia in 1950 as a refugee, with his mother, grandmother and younger sister, and has lived and worked in Melbourne since.
One of the best known of contemporary Australian artists, his national reputation was established through exhibitions in the 1960s and 70s in Melbourne and Sydney, largely due to the efforts of Sydney's Rudy Komon Gallery. Before Senbergs turned to the industrial reality of our cities and ports, Antarctica and the mined landscape of the west coast of Tasmania, he produced about 70 singularly interesting screenprints. These screenprints comprise startling, obtuse and unsettling images that reflect the modern world, its unease, fascination with technology and artificiality, that are amongst the most potent and original by a modern Australian artist.
The exhibition will comprise a generous selection of Jan Senbergs' screenprints, some paintings related closely to them, and a number of his most important and powerful paintings from the years after he abandoned screenprinting in the late 1970s to the present. It presents the artist's prints within the context of his work as a whole, underlining their importance to his evolution into a remarkable, idiosyncratic and admired draughtsman and painter.
The Gallery will publish a complete, fully illustrated catalogue of the artist's screenprints to accompany the exhibition, the first such on his screenprints.
The exhibition and catalogue of the screenprints is by Hendrik Kolenberg, the Gallery's senior curator of Australian prints, drawings and watercolours, who has made a close study of Jan Senbergs' work over the last 25 years.