Australian Artists

56th Venice Biennale, 2015

May 16, 2015
Fiona Hall, Tjukurrpa Kumpilitja (Hidden Stories), detail, 2014

“He’s very political.” This is what I heard, more than once, about Okwui Enwezor, the Nigerian-born curator of the 56th Venice Biennale, which goes by the suitably airy title: All the World’s Futures. This need not imply revolutionary credentials because “political” is a word with both macro and micro applications. Put three people in a … More


FROM GALLIPOLI

May 2, 2015
Deirdre Bean, Image 1: 'Cape Helles', 2014, watercolour on paper and vellum. Image 2: '303 inch British Mk VII', 2014, watercolour on paper and vellum. Courtesy the artist

There’s a lonely stretch of hillocks: There’s a beach asleep and drear: There’s a battered broken fort beside the sea. There are sunken trampled graves: And a little rotting pier: And winding paths that wind unceasingly. There’s a torn and silent valley: There’s a tiny rivulet With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth. … More


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


The Photograph and Australia

April 4, 2015
Unknown, Australian scenery, Middle Harbour, Port Jackson, c. 1865

Some exhibitions should come with a ‘Buyer Beware’ warning. Many will go along to The Photograph and Australia at the Art Gallery of NSW expecting to see a comprehensive historical survey of Australian photography. The AGNSW has encouraged such expectations by using well-known images by David Moore and Olive Cotton in its publicity material. In … More


Art Basel Hong Kong 2015

March 21, 2015
Art Basel in Hong Kong 2015
Photo by Jessica Hromas/Art Basel 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


Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial 2014

December 6, 2014
Gosia Wlodarczak at the AGNSW (2014)

One cannot travel very far in any discussion of drawing without coming across a famous statement from the great Neo-classicist, Jacques-Auguste-Dominique Ingres: “Drawing is the probity of art.” “Probity’ means both ‘correctness’ and ‘goodness’, but also ‘moral integrity’, which allows us to imagine Ingres was saying: “to thine own self be true.” This Shakespearean motto … More


Drawing

November 22, 2014
Ross Laurie, 'Walcha II', (2013).

French poet and essayist, Paul Valéry, said that drawing required “a sustained act of will” – but any child can pick up a pencil and draw with pleasure. The act of drawing, which keeps growing less definable, is both simple and hard. Simple because anyone can make a mark, hard because it requires unstinting practice … More


Five Decades at Watters Gallery

September 27, 2014
Richard Larter, 'Pause for thought' (detail) (1973)

On 18 November Watters Gallery will be celebrating its 50th birthday. This is an amazing achievement in a field in which most players never make it through a decade. Commercial art galleries are the economic equivalents of the canary in the coal mine – being the first to suffer in times of recession as people … More


Melbourne Now

January 11, 2014
Ross COULTER
10,000 Paper Planes - Aftermath (1) 2011 
type C photograph
156 x 200 cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased NGV Foundation, 2012
2012.332

In Melbourne Now the National Gallery of Victoria has staged a sprawling, colossally ambitious survey of the city’s contemporary art that also includes architecture, design, dance, performance and more. Although the logistical achievement is impressive, the exhibition is an act of metropolitan navel-gazing on a scale inconceivable in any other Australian capital. The catalogue is … More