“If drawing has to do with the making of signs, lines or marks on a flat surface the challenge to the artist is to charge those graphic signs with internal energy to create an image invoking life itself.” Noel Counihan. His Seated Nude, drawing is charged with the overwhelming presence of the figure with its strength and beauty. Counihan produced deeply compassionate art. His art celebrates life and the dignity of ordinary folk while dealing uncompromisingly with the critical issues of their contextual world. He combined his humanity and integrity with a powerful graphic imagination capable of transforming experience into images of great originality and genuine feeling. Drawing was a constant feature of Counihan’s work.
Noel Counihan studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne and became one of Australia’s strongest social realist/expressionist artists. He made a reputation as a cartoonist, painter, illustrator and printmaker and a political activist. His passion for modern art made him prominent among Melbourne’s radical intellectual and artistic circles, and he became a founding member of the Contemporary Art Society, Melbourne in 1938.
Counihan exhibited extensively in Australia and from the 1950s his work was exhibited in England and Eastern Europe. In 1973 a retrospective of his work was held at the National Gallery of Victoria, and in 1978 the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery.
Counihan’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, most state and many regional galleries. In 1993, art historian Bernard Smith published a biography entitled Noel Counihan: artist and revolutionary.
Noel Counihan by Michel Law