Pacific Drift

1989 – Mirage (detail) by Robert Boynes, 183 x 244cm, Oil on Canvas

Pacific Drift

Robert Boynes

West Gallery, Belconnen Arts Centre

Opening 6pm Friday 11 February 2022

11 February – 27 March 2022

For me, the “drift” started in the early 1980s when the Galapagos and Easter Island began to reveal the pressure of environmental concerns on their heritage due to tourism and rising sea levels. This series of works was motivated by the development of an international airstrip built down the centre of Easter Island in the eastern pacific.

This dislocation to the local culture allowed me in my work, to imagine the carved stone monumental heads, which surround the island to be released and drift across the western pacific through other archipelagos gathering debris and huge floating islands of plastic.

This floatilla eventually lands on the Australian shoreline. This interface between the ancient and recent western developments along these coastal areas has now become clear evidence of global warming and rising sea levels drifting towards us.

The rest is for you as a viewer to imagine.

About Robert Boynes:

Robert Boynes born in Adelaide and graduated from South Australian School of Art in 1962. Since his first exhibition at Bonython Art Gallery, Adelaide in 1964, Boynes has held more than sixty solo exhibitions throughout Australia and overseas. Particularly notable among his more recent shows are with, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne and Brenda May Gallery Sydney (2010); True Fictions, Canberra Museum and Gallery (2005); Robert Boynes, Austral Gallery, St Louis, United States (1999); Urban Simulations, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne (1995); and 3 Decades – Survey, Nolan Gallery, Canberra (and touring) (1995).

In January 2015 he had a solo show at the Singapore Art Fair, supported by May Space Sydney; and in May -June 2017 two decades of work called Modern Times was shown at the Drill Hall, Canberra. Simultaneously he showed Five Decades at May Space Gallery through June 2017.

Robert Boynes was Head of Painting at the ANU School of Art for 28 years; he is currently Adjunct Associate Professor. His work focuses on contemporary social interaction, incorporating a multiplicity of references to cinema, televised news coverage and closed circuit TV footage. He continues to explore the sounds, codes and cultural bonds found in our shared spaces and streetscapes. Rather than taking a moral perspective on this condition, Boynes consciously maintains a critical distance from his subjects. Robert Boynes has had over 70 solo shows across Australia, the UK and USA, and was included in a select group exhibition Tales of the Unexpected, curated by Dr Deborah Hart at the National Gallery of Australia in 2002. He was represented in the futile city, curated by Jason Smith at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne in 2011. In 2014 he was shown Velocity at the Drill Hall Gallery and Pop to Popism at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Recent exhibitions:

  • Small Reflections – Public & private, 2018, Beaver Galleries.
  • A Whole Life in a Passing Moment, 2019, May Space, Sydney.
  • Pacific Drift, 2022, Belconnen Arts Centre.

Robert Boynes’ work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia as well as all Australian State Galleries, many regional galleries, Parliament House, and Artbank. He is represented in Canberra by Beaver Galleries.


Where to see the exhibition:

Belconnen Arts Centre

118 Emu Bank, Belconnen, ACT, 10am – 4pm, Tuesdays – Sunday