Recent Sydney Morning Herald

Roy Jackson, The burial of the Sardine (from the novel by Arrabal), acrylic on canvas, (1985/86) Private Collection

Roy Jackson

March 28, 2015

In an era when art has plumbed new depths of frivolity, Roy Jackson (1944-2013) was almost too serious for his own good. He stubbornly believed the only thing that counted was the quality of the work, not the ephemeral ego gratifications artists enjoy during their 15 minutes of fame. He wasn’t even sure about the … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Art Basel in Hong Kong 2015
Photo by Jessica Hromas/Art Basel 2015

Art Basel Hong Kong 2015

March 21, 2015

At the Cocktail Reception that followed the Private View of this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong the Swiss luxury brand, Davidoff, was handing out free cigars. It proved a wildly popular giveaway. The entire party, held around the swimming pool of the Grand Hyatt, was wreathed in a fog of cigar smoke. A food queue … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Shaun Gladwell, Untitled (Wanderer above the sea of fog) (Detail), 2014


Shaun Gladwell

March 14, 2015

Watching the inexorable rise of Shaun Gladwell over the past decade makes me feel like the only teetotaler at a drunken party. After absorbing many hours of video, I still don’t get it. When everyone was gasping about Storm Sequence (2000) – a slow-motion film of Gladwell on a skateboard, I thought it was stupefying. … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

Nalda Searles, Hirsute Vision, 2013. Eyeglasses with hair and blanket, salvaged woolen blanket, felted and stitched (eye glasses gifted by Ted Snell, artist’s own hair), 16x16x6cm. Photo by Bewley Shaylor.

Perth Festival Art 2015

March 7, 2015

Over the past few years the Perth Festival has established a reputation for an adventurous visual arts program. This is in contrast to most of the arts festivals around Australia, which are dominated by the performing arts. Even Adelaide, which has had a long-term commitment to the visual arts, has dispensed with its regular Artists’ … More

Posted in: Sydney Morning Herald Column

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From the blog

‘Phantom’ by Peter Lik

Learning from Peter Lik

March 14, 2015

One day, with a photographer friend, I wandered into the Peter Lik Gallery in Cairns. It felt more like a chintzy tourist restaurant than an art gallery. The lights were low, the walls painted a charcoal colour. The furniture was new and gleaming, music played in the background. Lik’s landscape photographs were hung thickly on … More

Posted in: Blog

Colin Lanceley, 'Songs of a summer night (Lynne's garden)' (1985)

Colin Lanceley 1938-2015

March 7, 2015

Although he withdrew from the art scene suffering from declining health and a growing sense of disenchantment, Colin Lanceley’s work was one long chorus of joie-de-vivre. To look at his paintings from any period is to see an artist who believed, with Matisse, that art should be a celebration of life and beauty. In Lanceley’s … More

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Bruce Nauman, The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths, 1967

The Artist as Professional

February 28, 2015

In 1903 Cézanne wrote to his dealer, Ambrose Vollard: “Must art indeed be a priesthood, demanding that the faithful be bound to it body and soul?” Today the question would be greeted with derision. Art in the 21st century is not a spiritual calling, it is a profession. The artist is not motivated by inner … More

Posted in: Blog

Celebrated artist Guan Wei has painted three works to mark Chinese New Year. Photo: Danielle Smith

Guan Wei: Promised Land

February 21, 2015

Guan Wei is one of a generation of Chinese artists who settled in Australia in the wake of the Tiananmen Square events of 1989, and found themselves balanced between two cultures in a way that was simultaneously confusing and stimulating. While Guan Wei’s work has remained distinctively, unmistakably Chinese, he has drawn a large part … More

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