Art: Alun Leach-Jones

Artist: Alun Leach-Jones. Lived: North Sydney, NSW. Age: Died December 2017, aged 80.Represented by: Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne (no Sydney representation).

His thing: Abstract paintings, hard-edged and colourful.

The Country Beyond the Stars (2017), 97 x 72cm, by Alun Leach-Jones.

The Country Beyond the Stars (2017), 97 x 72cm, by Alun Leach-Jones.

Photo: Alun Leach-Jones

Our take: In 2003, Alun Leach-Jones painted a large canvas called The Country Beyond the Stars, drawing his title from a poem by Henry Vaughan (1621-95). In 2017 he returned to this work as the basis for a new series. These eight paintings ended up being the last of his career.

The works were intended for a show to coincide with The Field Revisited at the National Gallery of Victoria (until August 26). This NGV exhibition celebrates 50 years since its St Kilda Road headquarters launched with a landmark survey of new Australian abstract art called The Field. Leach-Jones was one of the emerging talents showcased in it. He became a prolific and successful painter, holding more than 80 solo exhibitions.

Colour and contour are the staples of Leach-Jones’s work. He aimed for the most pure form of abstraction, a visual poetry filled with emotional and musical resonances. By his usual standards these pictures are subdued in tone, but his forms are as sharply defined as ever. They are the work of a lifelong perfectionist.

Can I afford it? Given his work is held by all the major Australian public collections, Leach-Jones’s prices remain accessible. Each painting in this show is titled The Country Beyond the Stars, with numbers one and two priced at $15,900 for a canvas of 122cm by 97cm. Numbers three to eight (97cm by 72cm) sell for $12,500. The record price for his work at auction is $31,720 in 2015. With the buzz generated by The Field Revisited, it’s likely that will soon be exceeded.

Where can I have a squiz? Nicholas Thompson Gallery, 155 Langridge Street, Collingwood, until May 20.