Blue variable No. 2

Ian BURN: artist

Not On Display

About the work

Ian Burn was an Australian artist who moved to New York in 1967. There he became affiliated with the international Conceptual art collective Art & Language that flourished in the early 1970s. Art & language aimed to question and break down the mystifications surrounding the ways we appreciate, understand and value art.

Whilst in New York, Burn exhibited in important early Conceptual art exhibitions and worked both collaboratively and collectively. He returned to Australia in 1977 becoming actively involved in the formation of the Artworkers Union and wrote several important revisionist books on postcolonial art. After two decades of suspended art practice, he exhibited a series of 'collaborative' works he called 'Value Added Landscapes', shortly before his untimely death.

This work is one of two blue acrylic paintings in the State Art Collection, both featuring one vertical yellow stripe that splices a barely perceptible horizontal grid of lighter blue bars on a blue ground. Burn used a high gloss glaze over the surface that reflects light and mirrors the viewer looking at it. This was the artist's sole intended subject and it would later develop into actual mirror works. For Burn, the surface of a painting was something separate and distinct from its colouration.
Blue variable No. 2
Artist/Maker and role
Ian BURN: artist
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
161.7 x 162.2 x 3.2cm (framed)
Credit line
Purchased 1988
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the paintings in our collection.