Tag: portraiture

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Cressida Campbell

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

If there were ever an exhibition to silence the doubters and vanquish the sceptics, this is it. Director Nick Mitzevich says there were some at the National Gallery of Australia who couldn’t understand why he wanted to do a Cressida Campbell show. Surely, she’s just a still life artist, a maker of pretty pictures for […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Portia Geach Memorial Award 2022

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

There was a fizz to last year’s Portia Geach Memorial Award for female portraitists, but this time the show feels slightly flat. A display is only as good as the entries submitted, and many artists seem to have settled on smaller, less ambitious works. Should size matter? Look at art long enough and you’ll find […]


Jeffrey Smart: Portrait of Germaine Greer (1984)

Thursday, September 15th, 2022 Journals,

 It’s a testimony to the public perception of Germaine Greer that viewers are surprised Jeffrey Smart has made her seem so prim, so demure. Surely, the outspoken author of The Female Eunuch (1970) should be shown making some provocative gesture, staring challengingly at the viewer. Instead, Smart has portrayed the 45-year-old Greer sitting stiffly on […]


Brett Whiteley: Self-Portrait (1977)

Thursday, September 15th, 2022 Journals,

Brett Whiteley was never shy when it came to measuring himself against the masters. At the age of 16, while boarding at Scots College in Bathurst, he came across a book on Vincent Van Gogh and painted a self-portrait in emulation of the famously misunderstood Dutchman. At 16 we are all misunderstood and ready to […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Robert Wilson: Moving Portraits

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Germany’s all-time literary giant, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, once suggested to Caspar David Friedrich he should paint landscapes that systematically depicted each type of cloud identified in a famous treatise. Friedrich, by all accounts, was horrified at the suggestion. Being atttracted by the freedom and mutability of clouds, he resisted the idea of placing them […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

The Archibald Prize in Ten Pictures

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

No fewer than 816 works were entered in this year’s Archibald Prize, with 52 being selected as finalists. I should be used to it by now, but I’m still amazed that so many artists plunge in, year after year, in the forlorn hope of making it into the charmed circle that hangs at the Art […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Salon des Refusés 2022

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

This week has served up a powerful reminder that fame in art may be long, but celebrity in politics is strictly ephemeral. The Archibald Prize rolls around every year with cosmic regularity, but governments come and go, and when they change, the entire personality of a nation is changed. Last week I felt I was […]


The Archibald Prize 2022: Blak Douglas is the winner

Saturday, May 14th, 2022 Blog,

Politics is never far away from the Archibald prize, but it’s often that nebulous strain called “art politics”. This year, with the winner being announced in the middle of a federal election campaign, it was always going to be hard to keep attention focused on the aesthetics. Blak Douglas (AKA. Adam Hill), proved to be […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Shakespeare to Winehouse

Saturday, May 14th, 2022 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

Shakespeare to Winehouse may not be the most important show ever held at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, but I can’t think of a bigger one. The most surprising thing about this collection of more than 80 works, drawn from the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London, is how long it has taken […]


The Archibald Prize 2022: A First Look

Monday, May 9th, 2022 Blog,

It was predictable that after last year’s orgiastic celebrations of the Archibald Prize’s hundredth birthday, the following year would bring the hangover. But it’s not worth complaining about the quality of the 2022 exhibition, as the Archibald is never better than mediocre, with a few standouts. The dominant aspect of this year’s selection is a […]