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Ildiko Kovacs

Serpentine  1999

oil on plywood

155 × 275 × 4.3cm

Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Ann Lewis AO, 2009


About the Artwork

For Serpentine, a work on plywood, Ildiko Kovacs has incorporated her bodily gestures into a painting. Its thick ropy lines are a trace of the movements of her arm as she painted the work. Kovacs layers her paint in a process of accumulation and removal that also relates to the emphasis on process and gesture of abstract expressionism, a tradition of artmaking influencing her work. Kovacs has also been influenced by Indigenous artists and an approach to artmaking imbued with a sense of the spiritual and anchored within the landscape. In a work like Serpentine, a dialogue begins between the western form of abstract expressionism and an Australian tradition of art-making that are both founded in the observation of the natural world.
Updated and approved August 2016.

The line is a metaphor for me, my nature. Ultimately the process of painting is for me an intuitive one.
Ildiko Kovacs, Art Collector Magazine, no. 53, 2010, p.136.

Ildiko Kovacs

– About the artist

Born 1962, Sydney. Lives and works Sydney.

Ildiko Kovacs has been exhibiting since the 1980s and has been shown in a number of group exhibitions, including the Wynne Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2014); Crossing Paths II, Raft Art Space, Alice Springs (2013); and Fieldwork, Bathurst Regional Gallery, NSW (2011) and MCA, Sydney (2010). Kovacs’ work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, NSW; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Bathurst Regional Gallery, NSW; and various private collections.

Email from artist 15.3.2012
Short statement on practice:

I usually work on the floor and walk around the painting. I prefer working on a human scale as this allows a physicality with the work I build up the surface which involves wiping paint off, reapplying it and working with the residue. Eventually this builds up layers, as this happens form emerges and starts to dictate the next mark. The painting process for me is instinctive and unplanned and is about reacting and responding to the marks and the materials in use.

'The line motivates her practice and endures as the key element to generate meaning. Kovacs has described the line as
metaphor for landscape as well as personification of her own nature’

Extract from 'Down The Line 1980-2010 – Daniel Mudie Cunningham

Career Bio:

My Art education started the age of 17. I studied for 3 years. In1980 I travelled to Europe to look at Museums and Galleries. I came back to Australia and began painting. In 1986 I began Exhibiting with Garry Anderson who was instrumental in the development of my early career. He passed away in 1991 and I self exhibited for 9 yrs. in Sydney. I enjoyed great support from the likes of Hugh Jamerson, The Lavertys and Anne Lewis throughout my career. In 1995 I took a trip around Australia and ended up for a time in Broome. This trip was pivotal in shifting my focus from European and American paintings to The Australian Landscape and Artists. These experiences brought about a new found confidence and clarity in my painting. In 2005 the line works created with brushes came to it’s natural conclusions and from here on I have been experimenting with rollers which has opened up a new mark making process.

Learn more
– Other works by the artist

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