John Beard was born in Aberdare, Wales in 1943. After winning a Welsh State Scholarship from Mountain Ash Grammar School, Beard studied at the University of London and the Royal College of Art. A distinguished teaching career in England and Australia followed. In 1983 Beard arrived in Western Australia where he became Head of Fine Art at Curtin University in Perth. In 1989 he was awarded an Australian Council Fellowship and resigned from teaching in order to devote his full attention to his practice. He travelled extensively, living and exhibiting in New York, Madrid, Lisbon and London before establishing a Sydney base in 1997.
William Wright on John Beard’s work:
“Beard’s art is consistently subject to the transforming rigour of a perceptually intensive, intuitive working regimen: The painting’s surface both enables and embodies feeling. It is the place and source of contemplation; its site of existence. Beard’s work often exists on the imaginary cusp between what is and isn’t manifest, a fugitive zone”.
John Beard’s work has been exhibited worldwide and is held in the collections of major international public galleries, museums and private institutions. In 1998 Beard’s work was the subject of solo exhibitions at Tate St Ives in the UK and the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) in Australia. In 2000/1, his work ‘Wanretganui Heads’ was selected to represent the year ‘1998’ in The London National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Painting the Century: 101 Portrait Masterpieces 1900-2000. In 2005 he received Pollock-Krasner Award (New York) and held solo exhibition at The Gulbenkian Centro de Arte Moderna in Lisbon. In 2006 he won AGNSW’s Wynne Prize for landscape painting, and in 2007 he won its Archibald Prize for portraiture. In 2009/10, a large body of his work was exhibited at Kunsthalle Darmstadt in Germany.
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