Australian painting

Party time in London

September 21, 2013
Sidney Nolan, 'Ned Kelly', 1946, Enamel paint on composition board, 90.8 x 121.5 cm

For the long-anticipated show of Australian art at the Royal Academy the opening night was always going to be a joyous affair. The problem is that nobody looks at the art at an opening. Having already spent hours inspecting this exhibition I felt like a party pooper when people gushed: “Isn’t it wonderful!?” No, it’s … More


C.J.Pyle & J.D.’Ohai Ojeikere; Mary Tonkin; Six Artists, Seven Days

August 24, 2013
C. J. Pyle, Carbonique, 2011, ballpoint pen, paint and graphite on LP jacket sleeve, 31 x 31 cm

After many years of exile from the high church of contemporary art, Ray Hughes is now thinking maybe there is a God. His faith has been momentarily restored by a visit from Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, London, who came to Australia last month to deliver a lecture sponsored by Kaldor Public Art … More


Kevin Connor, Ricky Swallow & ‘Found’

August 10, 2013
Kevin Connor, Evening light (Liverpool Street west) with courthouse and cat, 2013, oil on canvas, 193 x 203 cm

Kevin Connor’s paintings aren’t pretty but they are attractive, having the peculiar magnetism of anything done with no thought of an audience or a peer group. This only begins to seem like a virtue when one thinks of all the art made as part of a career strategy, or by those who want to be … More


The Archibald Prize 2013: A Review

March 23, 2013
Alexander McKenzie, Toni Collette, oil on linen, 244 x 197 cm

This column comes from Japan, where like a character in a horror story pursued by an implacable nemesis, I’m writing about… the Archibald Prize! This venerable portrait competition is an Australian institution that is simply incomprehensible to the rest of the world. To outsiders the popularity of the prize, and of portraiture in general, is … More


The Archibald Prize 2013: A Comment

March 22, 2013
Del Kathryn Barton, hugo, watercolour, gouache and acrylic on canvas, 200 x 180 cm

This year’s Archibald throws up one nagging question: “What’s that animal Hugo Weaving is holding?” Perhaps it’s something the special effects crew from the Matrix movies dreamt up. According to the news reports, Del Kathryn Barton, says the indefinable creature “demonstrates facets of the actor’s personality” – an explanation that raises more questions than it … More


Roy Jackson, Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Kirsteen Pieterse, Vika Begalska

March 16, 2013
Roy Jackson, To Moment Day Today, 2010, acrylic and oil stick on board, 214 x 183cm

Last week I was reminded of the gulf that exists between the art world and the rest of the world, when ABC radio asked me to comment on the Mayor of Newcastle’s view that funding for a new regional gallery should come from selling works in the collection. His logic was: the holdings of the … More


Ben Quilty: After Afghanistan

March 9, 2013
Ben Quilty, Tarin Kot, Hilux

As Art Month begins, there’s no doubt the most talked-about show in town is Ben Quilty: After Afghanistan, at the National Art School Gallery. If last Saturday’s attendances at this exhibition were of any significance, one might imagine Sydney was infected by a passion for art. Despite the rainy weather a surprising number of people … More