An image of The telephone box

John Brack

(Australia 1920 – 11 Feb 1999)

The telephone box

Not on display
Further information

This painting depicts a woman in mid conversation in a public telephone box. Her figure is constructed through a series of repeated angular forms, so that she appears to be an extension of the stark geometry of her surroundings. It illustrates John Brack’s strategy of drawing viewers into his work by positioning them as direct and close observers of his subjects. While conversations normally imply connections between people, this work presents the act of communication as strained and isolating.

'The telephone box' is indicative of the powerful statements about urban experience that the artist exhibited in his initial solo shows in 1953 and 1955, which established him as a significant presence in Australian art.

oil on canvas
80.3 x 47.1 cm sight; 81.5 x 48.5 cm stretcher; 84.5 x 51.5 x 4.6 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, black oil "John Brack 54".
Anonymous gift 2010. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number
© Helen Brack
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