Kinetic

Exhibition dates: 16 June - 11 August 2005

Margel Hinder Revolving construction 1957

The exhibition Kinetic at the University Art Gallery explored the artwork of Ralph Balson, Grace Crowley, Rah Fizelle, Margel Hinder and Frank Hinder who came together in Sydney in the 1930s and later pioneered abstract and kinetic art in Australia.

Margel Hinder Revolving construction 1957
wire, plastic 35.5 x 56 x 49.5 cm
Purchased 1959. Collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales.
© AGNSW. Photograph: Mim Stirling for AGNSW

The small group delved into abstraction and incorporated technology into their art allowing them to render new ideas of space and time. The exhibition title refers to the pioneering kinetic work of Frank Hinder and Margel Hinder and more generally to the group's consistently dynamic compositions. Their emphasis on the abstract elements of colour, shape and line was a theme of the exhibition.

Frank Hinder Dawson memorial  1968

From the beginning they were dedicated to challenging the local artistic traditions. This was evident at a new art school opened by Crowley and Fizelle, the Crowley-Fizelle School, at 215a George Street, only minutes away from the new Sydney Harbour Bridge. A group of drawings by Frank Hinder provided an insight into the daily activities of the circle; how they painted from life models, read books and discussed issues at the school.

Frank Hinder Dawson memorial 1968
luminal kinetic 73.2 x 32 x 34.4 cm
Transferred from Sydney College of Advanced Education 1990
University of Sydney Art Collection
Reproduced with permission of Enid Hawkins
Ralph Balson Abstract no. 10  1956
Ralph Balson Abstract no. 10 1956
oil on cardboard mounted on hardboard
85.1 x 109.2 cm. Collection: Newcastle Region Art Gallery
© Estate of the artist

The group's reaction against local artistic traditions was apparent when the five exhibited together for the first and only time in Exhibition I, 1939, at the progressive David Jones Galleries. They were responding to 'the general banality of current exhibitions' - in Frank Hinder's words - and aimed to give visual form to new philosophical and scientific ideas. Balson's Semi-abstraction 'woman in green', 1939, included in Exhibition I, is striking for its composition of crude abstract forms that are more successful at generating a sense of movement than recognition of the human form.

Frank Hinder Over the bridge 1951
Frank Hinder Over the bridge 1951
watercolour 76 x 56 cm
Transferred from Sydney College of Advanced Education 1990
University of Sydney Art Collection
Reproduced with permission of Enid Hawkins

After Exhibition I, the group moved further towards total abstraction. Balson had the first one-man exhibition of abstract art in Australia in 1941. He identified the Dutch artist, Mondrian and the scientist Albert Einstein as among his greatest inspirations.

Sydney was an affluent society after World War II. Frank Hinder's Over the bridge, 1951, embodies this new confidence, as well as capturing the flickering vision of a drive across Sydney Harbour Bridge.