The sewing machine, John Brack
  • Artist
    John Brack
  • Born
    1920
  • Died
    1999
  • Title
    The sewing machine
  • Date of Production
    1955
  • Medium
    oil on canvas
  • Dimensions
    1063 x 650 mm
  • Credit Details
    Gift of Aubrey H.L.Gibson, 1957

John Brack

The sewing machine

A student of the National Gallery School and its Head from 1962-68, John Brack was a member of the Antipodeans.  A figurative painter who drew his inspiration from ordinary everyday people and situations, especially those associated with urban reality, Brack developed a unique and recognisable style characterised by a strong sense of line and often infused by the artist's keen skills of observation and wry wit.

In The sewing machine the sitter is Brack's wife Helen Maudsley.  Brack said of this work:  "One characteristic of the sewing machine is its short angular movement, a movement which is transmitted to the body of the operator, so the arrangement tries to represent this throughout the canvas.  A kind of zig-zag series of lines runs from the bottom along the floorboards, through the machine and through the body.  Such distortions as they are emphasise the oblique motion.  At the same time the design is slightly unbalanced as a reinforcement of this spirit."