One of the most important Australian artists of his generation, Robert MacPherson lived and made art in Brisbane for five decades. His work was grounded in a deep family connection to the land and his history as a cane field worker, a ringer, and a ships painter and docker.
1000 FROG POEMS: 1000 BOSS DROVERS ("YELLOW LEAF FALLING") FOR H.S. 1996–2014 comprises 2400 individual drawings, all deliberately executed as if by the hand of a child. Over a 20-year period, MacPherson made these in the guise of his 10-year-old alter ego, ‘Robert Pene’. All the boss drovers’ names are those of real people, whose histories are known or documented.
The Pene drawings form part of MacPherson’s long-running series of ‘Frog Poems’, a term MacPherson uses to refer to the unreliability of descriptive systems to capture the diverse reality of their subjects.
Feature image: Robert MacPherson / Australia QLD 1937–2021 / 1000 FROG POEMS: 1000 BOSS DROVERS ("YELLOW LEAF FALLING") FOR H.S. 1996–2014 / Graphite, ink and stain on paper / Purchased 2014 with funds from the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation, Paul and Susan Taylor, and Donald and Christine McDonald / © Estate of Robert MacPherson / Photograph: N Harth, QAGOMA