Melbourne

Tony Clark

Anna Schwartz Gallery

In the past, Tony Clark created schematic versions of seventeenth-century landscape painting, reminiscent in particular of the work of Claude Lorrain. These panoramas in cheap oil paint on small canvas boards suggested an intellectualized classicism that seemed calculated to offend. During the early ’80s, when he posed wrapped in a Roman toga to accompany an interview in which he rhapsodized about Italian Fascist architecture, Clark even encouraged critics to mistake him for a second-generation Carlo Maria Mariani.

The landscapes announced themes Clark has since continued to pursue. At once sincere and ironic, they pointed to the critical avant-garde rather than the unprofessionalism suggested by their materials and sketchy technique. In the mid ’80s he went on to paint a series of panels—based on a plasticine model of a Chinese pagoda—that dealt with orientalizing conventions in Western

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