Mac Betts

Mac Betts (1932-2010) belonged to the small group of Perth Hills artists that, during the 70’s and 80’s, dominated the Western Australian art scene, among them the likes of George Haynes, Robert Juniper, Douglas Chambers and Guy Grey-Smith to name a few. Betts was a lyrical abstractionist with an uncanny ability to capture the essence of light on the West Australian landscape. He is recognised as “ the artists’ artist’, and was greatly admired by his peers. Born in London, Mac lived and worked in Nigeria, spending time in Morocco, Spain, Italy and France before he migrated to Western Australia in 1970. The vastness and light of the north west were his continued influence right up to his death at the age of 78 in 2010. “My subject is landscape, not necessarily by choice but rather by what I instinctively respond to most strongly. That is landscape not seen as a record of a particular visual experience but a generalisation from many experiences – the distillation of an essential form.”

Once or twice a year he would travel North, exploring the landscape, seeking a specific affinity with the environment. His work is owned by collections globally too numerous to mention and he continued to exhibit in solo exhibitions often three times a year up until 2006 when his health began to deteriorate to the point where painting became too difficult. He had painted his entire life since leaving Kingston on Thames Fine Art school in 1957, practically every day without fail. For him it was not an occupation, it was his life.