Australian artist

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


Colin Lanceley 1938-2015

February 7, 2015
Colin Lanceley (Australia, b.1938), 'Songs of a summer night (Lynne's garden)' (1985), oil, wood on canvas

Colin Lanceley was an artist of rare integrity who pursued his own ideals of beauty in an artworld that made a fetish of ugliness. He was a thinker, and a wonderfully articulate speaker who could address a large audience with the ease of a dinner party conversation. He was a dedicated advocate for causes such … More


Robert Jacks

November 8, 2014
'Transitions', 1975, oil and wax on canvas, 175 x 256.8 cm, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, purchased through the C. H. and C. E. Waddell Trust, 1975

It’s hard to be objective about Robert Jacks who passed away in August at the untimely age of 71. Jacks once told me he couldn’t say whether his paintings were any good or not, but he always knew how to put together a good exhibition. It’s pleasing that the National Gallery of Victoria have done … More


Lucy Culliton

October 25, 2014
LUCY CULLITON, Self with subject (Domestic Science), (2007), oil on canvas, 70 x 100 cm. Courtesy The Hughes Gallery. Image courtesy of Mosman Art Gallery

Matisse said an artist should look at everything as if seeing it for the first time. No Australian artist better captures this thrill of perpetual discovery than Lucy Culliton. Although she is now of an age that permits a mid-career survey, Culliton has an energy and enthusiasm that puts most teenagers to shame. Culliton lives … More


The Acute Misfortune of Adam Cullen

October 18, 2014
Acut-Misfortun

Adam Cullen’s brief but eventful career was one long exercise in attention-seeking behaviour. My habitual reaction to such antics is to ignore them – to refuse to provide the oxygen of commentary, criticism, indignation that feeds self-obsession. Now that it’s all over, and Erik Jensen has immortalised the artist in a small, tragic memoir titled … More


Joshua Yeldham

October 18, 2014
Joshua Yeldham, 'Prayer for Protection', carved board with oil, shellac, resin and cane, 152 x 120cm

Artists are always happy to portray their work as a spiritual journey but Joshua Yeldham is more convincing than most. His mid-career survey at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum is a unique experience – less of an exhibition than a single work of art divided into different segments that unfold over time. This holistic … More


Arthur Boyd: An Active Witness

June 28, 2014
Arthur Boyd, Australia, (1920 – 1999), 'Persecuted lovers', 1957-58.

Arthur Boyd (1920-99) was one of Australian art’s leading painters and one of its greatest mysteries. In the preface to her comprehensive biography, published in 2007, Darleen Bungey quotes Boyd’s youngest daughter, Polly, who calls her father “an enigma, probably one of the most secret people on earth.” This also acts as a disclaimer for … More


Encounters with Bali & Une Australienne: Hilda Rix Nicholas

June 14, 2014
Une Australienne 1925, Paris, oil on canvas , 103 x 81cm. J. B. Hawkins Antiques, image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery

It would be fascinating to know how many art collections begin with an epiphany. The term, immortalised by James Joyce in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, refers to a sudden revelation, a moment of heightened consciousness. For Dr. John Yu that moment arrived one day in the late 1970s, when his … More


George Gittoes

June 7, 2014
George Gittoes, 'Congregation' (2013)

George Gittoes has given us the most horrible show in Sydney in 2014, or perhaps it’s the year’s greatest horror show. However one defines it, George Gittoes: I Witness at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery is a harrowing experience. Gittoes (b.1949) cut his teeth in the early 1970s with psychedelic paintings and puppet shows at Sydney’s … More