Blog

Anzac Evolution

April 25, 2015
Image courtesy James Compton

Looking at Australia in the years before and after the First World War, one feels like asking: “What went wrong?” There was so much happening in those early years of nationhood, so many glorious ideals forged in the war itself, that the post-war years can only be seen as a lost opportunity. Constitutional historian, Helen … More


FROM GALLIPOLI

April 18, 2015
Luke Sciberras, 'Along the
Gallipoli Peninsula', 2014, oil on board, 60 x 84cm

When George Lambert travelled to the battlefields of Gallipoli in February 1919 he found a landscape transformed into “a perfect rabbit warren’, riven with trenches and littered with bones. “The jackals, damn them were chorusing their hate, the bones showed up white even in the faint dawn, and I felt rotten,” he wrote. “The worst … More


Michael Schlieper (1947-2015)

April 18, 2015
Michael Schlieper, 'But What's Behind It?'

Artists with superior technical abilities are often studies in disappointment. When you can paint like an Old Master it is depressing to see the kind of stuff that turns up in Biennales and public collections. Neither can one un-learn abilities that have become second nature. It’s a predicament that breeds fatalism. Michael Schlieper had all … More


What Betty Knew

April 11, 2015
Betty Churcher

Betty Churcher (1931-2015) knew that if you wanted the best loans for an international exhibition you had to get the museum directors of the world to go along with the journey. This required an initial charm offensive followed by a persuasive argument about the nature of the show you were proposing. It couldn’t be a … More


Betty Churcher

April 4, 2015
Betty Churcher, at her home in Wamboin in 2012

Betty Churcher was one of those rare figures who could bring the world of art alive for the general public. In this, she was a woman out-of-step with an era that has seen the visual arts develop its own impenetrable jargon and snobberies. This was anathema to Churcher, a born educator whose love of her … More


Learning from Peter Lik

March 14, 2015
‘Phantom’ by Peter Lik

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


Colin Lanceley 1938-2015

March 7, 2015
Colin Lanceley, 'Songs of a summer night (Lynne's garden)' (1985)

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


The Artist as Professional

February 28, 2015
Bruce Nauman, The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths, 1967

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


Guan Wei: Promised Land

February 21, 2015
Celebrated artist Guan Wei has painted three works to mark Chinese New Year. Photo: Danielle Smith

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


Paths to Stardom:

February 14, 2015
Michael Keaton as Riggan in 'Birdman' (2014)

Birdman, the new film by Alejandro González Inárritu, tells us everything we need to know about the ever-changing path to stardom. Riggan, played by Michael Keaton, is an actor who has become famous for playing a comic book superhero, but craves the prestige and ‘authenticity’ conferred by the Broadway stage. In the twilight of his … More


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