Dale Hickey, Untitled 6, 2018, acrylic on board, 47 1⁄4 × 35 3⁄8".

Dale Hickey, Untitled 6, 2018, acrylic on board, 47 1⁄4 × 35 3⁄8".

Dale Hickey

Niagara Galleries

Over nearly six decades, the Melbourne-based artist Dale Hickey has presented historians of Australian art with a minor conundrum, which is how—or, indeed, whether—a consistent conceptual project is expressed across the breadth and diversity of his long career. As a friend and astute critic of the artist, Gary Catalano, once wondered, What is the work’s “hidden content?”

After gaining prominence as a painter of hard-edge abstraction in the mid-1960s, Hickey abandoned painting for Conceptual art at the close of the decade, producing a number of idiosyncratic, de-skilled works such as Fences, 1969, for which he commissioned a tradesman to install picket fencing around the interior gallery walls of Melbourne’s Pinacotheca, and 90 white walls, 1970, which comprises ninety photographs of blank walls in a handmade wooden box. Hickey began painting again in 1973, this time adopting a photorealistic

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