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Colin Jordan

Monday, 12th September, 2011

“DELTA”: 1967, arylic on canvas on board by Col Jordan “DELTA”: 1967, arylic on canvas on board by Col Jordan

The 12th in the series of articles by Catherine Farry, education officer at the Regional Art Gallery, about the artists who painted the pictures in the city’s collection.

Colin Jordan was born in Sydney in 1935 and was educated at Homebush Boys’ High School. He then went on to study at Balmain Teachers’ College and the University of Sydney.

In 1967 Jordan and two other young artists, Ken Reinhard and Sydney Ball, introduced hard edge optical painting to Australia with an exhibition entitled “Engine”. 

Hard edge painting is a style of abstract art where the colour changes in the work happen abruptly, without blending into each other and the colour areas themselves are usually unvaried. As an art movement it began in America in the late 1950s. 

Optical art contains what we know as optical illusions; for example, black and white paintings that give an appearance of flashes of colour, or where a flat surface appears to swell or contract. 

Jordan adds to these effects by making paintings that break the convention of the rectangular canvas, as can be seen in the triangular Delta.  Other works by Jordan are painted onto wavy surfaces and even three dimensional canvases. 

Col Jordan has had many solo exhibitions and has won a number of awards including the Flotta Lauro Travelling Art Scholarship. 

His works are in many public and private collections including the University of Sydney, The National Gallery of Victoria and the National Gallery of Australia. 

Col Jordan retired from his position as professor and associated dean at the College of Fine Art in The University of NSW in 1994. In 1996 the title of emeritus professor was conferred on him by the Council of the University of New South Wales.

“Delta” was donated to the city’s art gallery by the Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, in 1984.


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