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Martin Coyte, Snow ZephyrTitle
Snow Zephyr

In storage

Place of origin
New South Wales, Australia


Oil on canvas

174 x 150 cm

Winner Calleen Award 2007

Accession number

Excerpt from The Calleen Collection by Peter Haynes (2019)

Martin Coyte was born in 1953 in Orange, New South Wales. He studied at the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney (1973), the National Art School (1974) and the (then) Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education (1976-1979), also in Sydney. His awards include the New South Wales Travelling Art Scholarship (1979), the Dyson Bequest (1981), the Moya Dyring Studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (1982), and a Residency at Mitchell College in Bathurst (1985). Coyte was also commissioned to produce an artwork for the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre in 1999. He has exhibited regularly in solo and group shows since 1974 in regional New South Wales, Sydney, Canberra, London, Paris and Melbourne. The Orange Regional Gallery and the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery have featured Coyte’s work on a number of occasions and Bathurst held a major survey in 2005. His work is in a number of public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Australian National University Art Collection, the Orange Region Gallery and the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery. He lives and works at Borenore near Orange in the New South Wales Central West.

Snow Zephyr is a painting whose meaning lies within the viewer who participates in the slowly revelatory process of entering a visual and philosophical dialogue with the work. It is a mysterious picture that speaks of the natural world but also of the spiritual element that is part of man’s relationship with nature. Coyte uses a soft palette of (mostly) greys that are animated by the swirling white and black gestural marks that are dispersed across the picture plane. The white marks produce an inward spatial movement that moves in a stately spiral towards the left-hand edge of the canvas. The marks could be read as the snow of the title and indeed the gentle floating motion of these across the pictorial surface places the viewer in the painting and thus an active participant in the painterly activity. There is too the inference that we are viewing something unstated through a veil or mist. The notion of a sense of distance between viewer and artwork and artist and viewer is also intimated. Coyte once said that his art is about going “over the horizon to explore something that you don’t know”, an eloquent introduction to Snow Zephyr.