Col Jordan (Australia, 1935 –)

Space Frame 4   1969
synthetic polymer paint on board

UTS Art Collection, transfer from Kuringgai College of Advanced Education, 1990

Col Jordan’s original training was at the Balmain Teachers’ College and an Arts degree with an English Literature major at University of Sydney. After moving to Wollongong to take up a teaching position there he developed an interest in painting and had his first solo exhibition at Watters Gallery in Sydney in 1966. The following year, the exhibition ‘Engine’ at the Farmers Blaxland Gallery with Sydney Ball and Ken Reinhard firmly established Jordan’s place as one of the emerging young artists investigating optical, colour-field painting.

One of the inspirations for Jordan’s early works was encountering the catalogue for ‘The Responsive Eye’, an exhibition held in at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The use of unmodulated colour and stark geometry of artists such as Joseph Albers, Gene Davis, Victor Vasarely, Larry Poons and Ellsworth Kelly set Jordan on a path of painting geometric forms filled with optically brilliant colour.

The title of the Space Frame series suggests the artist’s interest in the principles of construction – after Buckminster-Fuller, the architectural space frame uses the inherent strength of the triangle to support a structure. So too, the strong diagonals in Jordan’s painting offer a strong foundation for his play on the illusion of depth through colour.


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