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The wonderfully wry work of Eric Thake (1904–1982) and his perceptive visual and verbal puns in this popular Christmas card series are featured in this exhibition, alongside artists who tackle issues with a political edge, or use wit and satire to convey a subversive message.
Early in his career Thake developed a disciplined approach to art production that was based on simplicity, precision and design. The commercial art training he received at a Melbourne engraving firm from the age of fourteen established an appreciation for clear, bold design and instilled in Thake a high standard of technical proficiency. Art studies under influential artist and teacher George Bell in 1925–28 further developed Thake’s interest in formal design. Encouraged by Bell to work from drawings instead of directly from nature,
Thake produced simplified compositions that were a personal, rather than descriptive, response to the world. From 1941 to 1975 Thake produced a linocut design each year as a Christmas card to send to family and friends. This exhibition displays the full set of Thake’s Christmas cards held in the university’s collection.