Neil Roberts

Stanhope, Zara and Roberts, Neil,

Graphic, catalogue essay, Melbourne: Monash University Gallery, 1998.

Zara Stanhope and Neil Roberts

As the series title Bradman’s Tank and the numeric record of bounces suggest, Neil Roberts’ works in Graphic recall the repetitive motion of Donald Bradman’s cricket practice. Bouncing balls smeared with varied amounts of bootpolish and working his way around the paper laid on the ground, Roberts pitted his artistic skills against legendary sporting abilities, moving toward an automatic state where the hand and eye take control from the brain. The accretion of marks on the page are a combination in process and attitude of printmaking and drawing, produced with equipment that includes soccer and soft balls but no cricket balls.

Zara Stanhope

Artist’s statement

There is a story about Donald Bradman honing his ball skills by obsessively attempting to hit a golf ball, thrown against a corrugated water tank, with a cricket stump. These drawings start from the point of trying to retrieve imaginary evidence of that repetitive energy from the material memory of the metal and continue into inquisitive zones like the overlay of painterly and sporting skills, focus and concentration, and the accretion of marks as a compositional system.

Neil Roberts