Robert Boynes



acrylic on canvas

diptych 150 x 210 cm

Image courtesy of Alexander Boynes


Robert Boynes was Head of Painting at the ANU School of Art for 28 years; he is currently Adjunct Associate Professor. His work focuses on contemporary social interaction, incorporating a multiplicity of references to cinema, televised news coverage and closed circuit TV footage. He continues to explore the sounds, codes and cultural bonds found in our shared spaces and streetscapes. Rather than taking a moral perspective on this condition, Boynes consciously maintains a critical distance from his subjects. Robert Boynes has had over 60 solo shows across Australia, the UK and USA, and was included in a select group exhibition Tales of the Unexpected, curated by Dr Deborah Hart at the National Gallery of Australia in 2002. He was represented in The futile city, curated by Jason Smith at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne in 2011. In 2015 he was shown in Pulse at CMAG, Velocity at the Drill Hall Gallery and Pop to Popism at the Art Gallery of NSW; and had a solo show at the Singapore Art Fair, supported by May Space Sydney. In May -June 2017, two decades of work called Modern Times was shown at the Drill Hall, Canberra. Simultaneously he showed Five Decades at MaySpace in June 2017.

Robert Boynes’ work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia as well as all Australian State Galleries, many regional galleries, Parliament House, and Artbank. His work is also collected internationally, UK, Europe and USA. He is represented in Canberra by Beaver Galleries.


This is a final work in a series about refugee and displaced populations in North Africa and Europe. It is a series that has no name. 

This work ROME is a conflation of global event and local observation that I made while travelling in Italy 2017. It is influenced by being immersed, at the time, in great European painting from Giotto, through Michelangelo to Caravaggio and Goya

The glow of works by these artists cast a shadow on the number of these people ‘passing through’ Italy at the time. I want this painting to reflect the struggle to survive that many people in the world are having at this time. The compression that the figures are morphing into may simultaneously be a search for shelter or some kind of slow and ever changing fragment of life. Above all, I want this piece to be formally elegant that will engage viewings and not be dated by our times.  

Using Format