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Geoffrey Harvey, Arnott's BuildingTitle
Arnott’s Building

Location
In storage

Place of origin
New South Wales, Australia

Media
Painting

Medium
Acrylic

Credit
Winner Calleen Award 1984

Accession number
CAL1984

Excerpt from The Calleen Collection by Peter Haynes (2019)

Geoffrey Harvey was born in 1954 in Sydney where he still lives and works. He studied at the National Art School and at the (then) Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education from where he received a Diploma in Art in 1977. In 1987 he was awarded a MA (Fine Art) from the (then) City Art Institute. He has been exhibiting regularly throughout Australia since 1977 and has also shown in Paris and London. His work is held in numerous collections including the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Artbank, and regional, institutional, corporate and private collections in Australia and the USA. His many awards include most recently the Muswellbrook Painting Prize (2017), the Northern Beaches Art Prize (2017), the Warringah Painting Prize (2016) and the Korea-Australia Arts Foundation Painting Prize (2016).

Arnott’s Building is characteristic of Harvey’s forays into photorealism that characterised his early work. It is a fine example not only of the artist’s work but of the photorealist genre in Australian art history. The somewhat bland facade of the building is enlivened by the symmetrically placed trio of arched windows in the top half of the picture. The biscuit colour is broken by serried triangles of light and the windows and their attached shutters. The thin line of sky at the very top reinforces the division of the painting into horizontal bands. The bottom plane has a bold blue palette, darker to the left-hand edge. The Arnott’s label and logo of the brightly coloured parrot have an intensity of colour that is visually very effective. The blue of the ground floor facade is interrupted by the (again) biscuit yellow of a telephone box. I have incorporated the word biscuit to describe the artist’s choice of colour purposefully to indicate the obvious connection between subject and manner of delivering it. The urban geometries seen here demonstrate the proficiency of Harvey’s techniques and the sureness of his use of colour.