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Australian Art

Art Essays

Geoff Dyer, Stephen Bird, Etsuko Fukaya, Joanna Braithwaite

Saturday, February 11th, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

When Thoreau wrote: “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”, he probably wasn’t thinking about art dealers. Yet the phrase springs to mind when one considers the sluggishness of the commercial art scene over the past couple of years. While the art market weathered the GFC better than was generally expected, an extended […]

Art Essays

Impressions: Painting Light & Life

Saturday, February 4th, 2012 Art Essays, Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

A survey of portraiture by Australian artists of the late nineteenth century would seem to be long overdue. Despite the institutional obsession with all things contemporary, the works of the so-called Australian Impressionists – Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Fred McCubbin and Charles Conder – remain the most popular drawcards in our public collections. The problem […]

Art Essays

Elisabeth Cummings

Saturday, January 21st, 2012 Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

A recent press release from the National Gallery of Australia announces an exhibition of 200 years of Australian landscape to be held at the Royal Academy, London, in September 2013. This is a long-overdue event, and it is to be hoped the NGA takes the opportunity to make the show something more than a historical […]

Art Essays

Brian Wallace

Saturday, January 14th, 2012 Australian Art, Chinese Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Over the past two decades Chinese art has made inroads into the Australian museum and gallery world, prompting Brian Wallace of Bejing’s Red Gate gallery, to put together a travelling exhibition for his native land. To welcome in the year of the Dragon, the City of Sydney will host Two Generations – 20 years of […]

Art Essays

Pablo Picasso & the Dobell Prize for Drawing 2011

Saturday, December 10th, 2011 Art Essays, Australian Art, General Art Essays, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

According to Hendrik Kolenberg, the Art Gallery of NSW’s Senior Curator of Australian Prints, Drawings and Watercolours, the Dobell Prize for Drawing is the most serious art award in Australia. This doesn’t mean the show is all grey and humourless, it is essentially a comment on the medium. Drawing is the armature of an artist’s […]

Art Essays

Sculpture by the Sea 2011

Saturday, November 12th, 2011 Art Essays, Australian Art, International Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

To see what Sculpture by the Sea is really all about, one needs to go on a weekend, when the walk between Bondi and Tamarama is teeming with people. For most exhibitions this is the worst scenario for viewing works, but with SXS the open-air setting means that no piece is ever rendered inaccessible. The […]

Art Essays

The Portia Geach Memorial Award

Saturday, October 29th, 2011 Art Essays, Australian Art, General Art Essays, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

One of the small paradoxes of colonial Australian art is the question as to why there were so few notable female artists at a time when women art students continually outnumbered their male counterparts. Looking at photos of the graduating classes of the National Gallery of Victoria School in the late 1800s, there is always […]

Art Essays

Robert Malherbe, Rhys Lee, Peter Godwin & Guan Wei

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 Art Essays, Australian Art, General Art Essays, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

There is a romantic expectation that an artist will keep producing works that are wholly original. This can create a debilitating pressure, as some feel obliged to produce a new twist with every exhibition. But art is not created in a vacuum, and all artists take something from their predecessors. As Picasso is famously alleged […]

Art Essays

Art and Seoul

Thursday, October 20th, 2011 Australian Art, Blog, International Art,

Regular readers must be starting to wonder in what part of the world they’ll find themselves from week to week. I’m starting to wonder myself. Recently I was in Seoul for the 10th Korean International Art Fair, today I’m on a plane coming back from Shanghai. Without wanting to sound glib, the very fact that […]

Art Essays

The 60th Blake Prize Exhibition

Saturday, October 1st, 2011 Australian Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In recent years I have cheerfully avoided the Blake Prize and might have done so again in its 60th anniversary year, had not Rachael Kohn from Radio National asked me to comment on the show. The reason why I generally avoid the Blake is not because I’m irreligious – which I freely admit – but […]