Creative Profiles

Remembering George

Story: Penelope Wharton
Photo: George Kirk, The Dead Cow Portraits – Tranquility 2002. Oil on canvas. © The artist.

At almost 99 years, George Kirk (1921-2020) was still drawing and painting in his Maryborough studio. In earlier years he would create in his studio at Aroona the family property. He was a much loved, prolific regional artist who was a joyful, inquisitive art maker and a hard-working third generation cattleman of the Burnett district. Inspired by concepts of freedom and externalising inner emotion, he was a diligent student of colour and form who observed his landscape and social environment with a keen eye. George’s images were also informed by his passionate and in-depth study of the works of the post-impressionists, expressionists, surrealists, and many contemporary Australian artists.

George described his attitude to creativity in the 1982 Australian Flying Arts School catalogue, “…drawing and painting, or the creative spirit, has been ever-present since early childhood, and perhaps my highest aspiration is to be accepted as an artist among artists.”

As a cattleman, George rode the ridges, immersing himself in the natural world, closely observing and feeling its moods. His use of rich colour, metamorphosing forms of earth and being, and forms that emerge from the landscape confirm his intimacy with the natural environment.

He produced many large canvases, small works on canvas and paper; and computer-generated ‘Mouse Painting’. His work is a homage to playfulness and staying young at heart, displaying George’s unique and quirky way of seeing the world – a refreshing and unusual portrayal of familiar things.

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