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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

John Nixon 1, January 1979

1979 (printed 2012)
Robert Rooney

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 24.0 cm x 35.2 cm, image: 20.0 cm x 30.5 cm)

John Nixon (1949–2020), installation artist and painter, studied at the Preston Institute of Technology and the National Gallery School in the late 1960s and 1970. Becoming interested in multi-media art and art as language, he showed at the Pinocotheca Gallery between 1973 and 1977 and was represented in many important group shows from 1975 onward. Over time, he was to develop a minimalist, abstract aesthetic influenced by the utopian art and politics of Kasimir Malevich. At the beginning of the 1980s he and his then-wife, Jenny Watson, established Art Projects, an austere space reached by many flights of stairs in a rambling city building. A number of Nixon’s works from the early 1980s onwards came under the umbrella title of Self-portrait (non-objective composition) including abstracts using only the techniques, materials and compositional modes of the Constructivists. In 1990 he began the Experimental Painting Workshop (EPW), and from 1995 produced a plethora of predominantly orange works; later he took to ‘furtive’ use of silver and to creating polychromatic abstracts. His work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, most state galleries and Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012
© Estate of Robert Rooney

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Robert Rooney (age 42 in 1979)

John Nixon (age 30 in 1979)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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