- Purchased 1973
- Oil on canvas
- 1740 x 1790mm
Talk to the hand. The character in Tony Fomision’s No! holds up his hand to the viewer in a gesture of defiance and refusal as he looks away. The antagonistic stance is based on an image cut from a 1966 newspaper of a local blacksmith horrified at the idea of a proposed urban subdivision near his village. This work was completed after Fomison returned to Christchurch from his overseas sojourn, a moment in which he developed his mature style: Overseas I had found a way of painting that is my way of painting, derived completely from my drawings. I had got on the right track after being put on the wrong track at Art School. Much of Fomison’s subject matter is gritty with a psychological intensity, as seen in No!, where the subject actively rejects the viewer, refusing to acknowledge them. Fomison stated: My paintings are brutal and lonely, and try to make the statement that the personal condition is more important, that self-knowledge is more important, than just painting flowers and landscapes.
(No! That’s wrong XXXXXX, 25 June 2016 – 30 April 2017)
Tony Fomison's No!
I’ve chosen this because it’s probably Tony’s best-known painting (it’s the one that the Gallery chose to upsize onto an inner-city wall) and because it’s emblematic of his art, which was confrontational and definitely not user-friendly. In a long profile I wrote of him in the 1970s he said of his middle-class patrons: ‘I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about them. They’re the swine I rely on to buy my paintings. I hope these paintings fester on their walls and they have to take them down and put them behind the piano. I hope the paintings get up and chase them round the house.’
No! That’s wrong XXXXXX
Three paintings by Tony Fomison, Philip Clairmont and Allen Maddox.
No! was begun in 1969 while Tony Fomison was living in a house in Riccarton Road with Philip Clairmont and other bohemian artists. Typical in its intensity and edgy mood, this work was inspired by a newspaper photograph Fomison saw when he was in England during the late 1960s.