The Singleton Years
Erwin K. Zehentner
Erwin K. Zehentner is a local Singleton artist and writer. His art practice generally belongs in the realm of abstract expressionism, with a particular interest in mark making, geometry and collage. The works in this collection show Zehentner’s experimentation and the development in his work since moving to Singleton in 2015.
Erwin grew up in Salzburg in Austria, Mozart’s home was three doors away and many writers and composers dotted the landscape. He arrived in Australia in the mid-1950s, and started painting seriously quite late in life. Erwin attended a talk on Jackson Pollock at about the time that Blue Poles was controversially purchased by the National Gallery of Australia in 1973 and was blown away by the intensity and feeling in the painting. Following this, he spent time with the Sydney artist Roger Crawford, an equally intense and serious teacher. Of particular influence was the late Frank Watters. Erwin comments:
A conversation with him was the equivalent of a lesson with Roger. He was very difficult at times; however learning is never easy.
The TAP Gallery in Sydney also influenced Erwin’s career, he entered his portrait of the poet Robert Balas in the Archibald Prize – a semi abstract rendering of him in full flight at one of the open mic nights. The painting was meant to be a poke at Edmund Capon the then Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, who took the bait and pulled Erwin’s painting out of the pile on ABC TV news with the comment “I don’t know what this is about”.