Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Wilder Times: Arthur Boyd and the mid-1980s Landscape

Saturday, July 20th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In July 1983, Arthur Boyd received the kind of commission that artists dream about and dread: to create two large paintings and a suite of smaller works for the new Arts Centre Melbourne. It was a rare privilege to have one’s pictures on permanent display in the halls and foyers of a major public building, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Alphonse Mucha: Spirit of Art Nouveau

Saturday, July 13th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It’s sheer coincidence the Art Gallery of NSW is hosting Alphonse Mucha: Sprit of Art Nouveau while the National Gallery of Australia is showing Gauguin’s World: Tōna Iho, Tōna Ao. Mucha and Gauguin were friends in Paris during that period we call the Belle Époque, but it would be difficult to imagine two more different […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Gauguin’s World: Tōna Iho, Tōna Ao

Friday, July 5th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Paul Gauguin was both master and monster. This was the view of the French writer, Victor Segalen, who arrived in the Marquesas to make an inventory of the late artist’s belongings. In the excellent catalogue for Gauguin’s World: Tōna Iho, Tōna Ao, at the National Gallery of Australia, two essayists remind us of Segalen’s verdict, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Salon des Refusés 2024

Sunday, June 30th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

This year, it’s the proud boast of the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW, that “for the first time there are more works by Aboriginal artists than non-Aboriginal artists.” Surely it’s entirely inappropriate to celebrate a preponderance of one group over another when it’s the artists’ work, not their ethnicity that is being […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column


Saturday, June 22nd, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Until the Eiffel Tower came along in 1889, the Great Pyramid of Giza, built by the Pharaoh, Khufu (c.2,600 BCE), was the tallest building on earth. Not many world records have stood for 4,000 years, and no great civilisation lasted so long as Pharaonic Egypt. It began with the reign of Narmer (c. 3,000 BCE), […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Archibald Prize 2024

Tuesday, June 18th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In Dante’s Inferno there are nine circles of Hell, each reserved for a different kind of sinner. The lustful get thrown about by storms, the gluttonous wallow in icy slush, heretics are trapped in flaming tombs… But try as I might, I’ve never been able to locate the particular niche in which the sinner is […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Cutting Through Time: Cressida Campbell, Margaret Preston and the Japanese Print

Sunday, June 2nd, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Cutting Through Time is an artful title for an innovative exhibition at the Geelong Art Gallery that explores affinities between Cressida Campbell, Margaret Preston, and the great Japanese printmakers of the Ukiyo-e school. It’s yet another instance in which a Victorian gallery is surveying the work of artists firmly associated with Sydney. At the opening, […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

King Crimson

Sunday, May 26th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Until Gina Rinehart stole the headlines last week by complaining about that “unflattering” likeness by Vincent Namatjira, Jonathan Yeo’s His Majesty King Charles III was the only portrait that had the world talking. It’s a distinctly unorthodox kind of royal portrait. A detailed, realistic rendition of the King’s face and hands emerge from a field […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Sally Robinson

Saturday, May 18th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Sally Robinson came from England at the age of eight, trading a childhood in Surrey for a life in the harsh Australian sunlight. She may not have had a language barrier to overcome, but the culture shock – or perhaps the weather shock – must have been profound. Eight is an impressionable age, a time […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Nicholas Mangan: A World Undone

Saturday, May 11th, 2024 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Few artists are so well informed as Nicholas Mangan in diverse fields of knowledge. In Mangan’s survey exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, A World Undone, one can’t help but be impressed by the breadth of his interests and the thoroughness with which he pursues them. In the first essay in the catalogue, Amelia […]