Yvonne Audette has been described by the National Portrait Gallery as “Australia’s greatest living abstract painter”. Indeed, despite taking influence from Art Informal, Tachisme and Paul Cezanne, her work remains bracingly singular, having held court in the Australian art scene since the 1950s.
In 1952, Audette visited New York where she became acquainted with Willem de Koonig, Franz Kline and art critic Clement Greenberg. Three years later, she would head to Europe, establishing a studio in Florence and later Milan before returning to Australia in 1966. Her travels are expressed in her work. On one hand, she is preoccupied by the language of abstraction, while on the other she reads history onto the canvas. Upon arriving in Europe, she remarked “my work responded to the layering of society itself – the remnants of murals on walls, the frescoes, the whole antiquity of civilization”.
Audette’s work is represented in all state galleries, as well as Tarrawarra Museum, the Universities of Melbourne and Monash, and Artbank. In 1999, she was honoured with a major retrospective and publication. Her work, characterised by layers, staccato markings and collisions both aesthetic and historical, is perhaps best synthesised by James Gleeson who in 1968, declared her visions “crystallisations of time”.