Modern Australian artist Frank Hinder (1906–1992) had a strong interest in cubism, abstraction and futurism. Futurist artists were inspired by speed, qualities of machinery and new technology. Hinder’s Subway escalator, 1953, in the Gallery’s collection captures the speed, movement and energy of the wooden escalators in Wynyard station in Sydney. In the 1960s, Hinder began creating luminal kinetics, works of art that reflected light and moved within a boxed frame, such as Dark Tryptic, 1969, which creates an everchanging painting of light. He was interested in mathematical patterns, geometry and making science visible, which included the structural effect of colour and the dynamic illusion of movement. During the Second World War Hinder was also known for his camouflage designs.

Subway escalator, 1953, expresses Hinder’s passionate belief in the interaction and interrelation of all things. The richly woven scene employs the theory of dynamic symmetry – a method that links the external world to mathematical pattern – to present simultaneous views of a bustling crowd of commuters at Sydney’s Wynyard station. The forms, light and colour of city life are unified within a singular central mass, this mass consisting of repeating and overlapping geometric shapes. This work was the last of a large series of subway scenes produced by Hinder between 1929 and 1953 in his search to understand and make visible the universal truths of modern life.

Australian Curriculum connections - Year 6 History

The contribution of individuals and groups to the development of Australian society since Federation (ACHASSK137)

Hinder explored ideas about the real world, what we can see, and what is imagined. Think about a place you have visited that was busy. It might have been a special event like a concert or somewhere you visit regularly like a supermarket or sporting arena. What was the atmosphere like and how did it make you feel? Create a work of art that captures the essence of this place.

Camouflage conceals or disguises animals or objects by using a combination of materials and colouration to optically confuse the observer. Most commonly we associate camouflage with military uniforms or an animal’s ability to disguise themselves from predators. Investigate the history of camouflage and look at some other artists who have used camouflage in their works of art. Tip: Fiona Hall and Reko Rennie.

Frank Hinder was interested in mathematics, geometry and the structural effect of colour Investigate artists who use light and movement. Compare their work to that of Hinder. Consider how technology and art has changed since Hinder’s creation of his luminal kinetic works. Tip: Look at the work by Daniel Crooks, Lindy Lee, Yayoi Kusama, Jonathan Jones, Sandra Selig and James Turrell.

The Gallery’s Learning programs are supported by the Department for Education.

This education resource has been developed and written in collaboration with Elle Freak, Associate Curator, Australian Paintings & Sculpture and Kylie Neagle, Education Coordinator