Lin Onus, a Yorta Yorta artist of Aboriginal and Scottish descent, represents a singular voice in Australia’s cultural life. Esteemed for his wit, talent and panache, Onus’s work is a negotiation of culture identity, using both Aboriginal and Western techniques to unsettle categorisation.
After being racistly expelled from school at age fourteen, Onus worked as a mechanic and activist, before teaching himself to draw. He forged a style that combined photo-realism, surrealism and indigenous iconography. Not only was this reflective of his heritage, it also represented his attitude at large, which championed reconciliation over alienation.
Recognisably Onus, ‘Burnt Earth’ is a layered, textual work. In it, black and white stones are superimposed over colourful stones recalling how after a blaze, only black ash remains. Perspective is also skewed: the colourful rocks appear to be captured from above, while the black centre is cut with a horizon line. Onus presents two perspectives at once; two sides of the same stone.
Detailed, multi-coloured and impeccably composed, ‘Burnt Earth’ testifies to an artist whose artistic vision was only matched by his activism. Caught between different worlds, Onus wrote in 1990 that he hoped to be remembered as a “bridge between cultures, technology and ideas”. With representation in most major Australian collections and an OBE, it is undoubtable that he has. Despite being a screenprint, ‘Burnt Earth’ is a unique work of art.
For collectors of important Australian, Aboriginal and contemporary art, give your collection new life with ‘Burnt Earth’.
Lin ONUS (1948 - 1996)
'Burnt Earth' 1996
Screenprint on paper
Image Size: 50 x 75 cm
Dimensions: 71 x 101 cm
Comes with Letter of Provenance
Condition: Very Good: Describes a work of art’s image as Excellent, but may show some small signs of surrounding wear. There are no tears to paper margin or disruption to paint surface.
© Lin Onus / Copyright Agency 2022