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painting | John McDonald

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RAW: Wedderburn

July 5, 2018

There is no fixed definition of an ‘artists’ colony’ although there are numerous examples spread across the globe. Some are run like businesses, others are no more than clusters of like-minded Bohemians. The prototype of the modern artists’ colony is probably Worpswede, 28 kms from Bremen in northern Germany, which has been a haven for … More


Guy Warren

February 2, 2018

Guy Warren is part of the landscape of Australian art, which may be the reason he has been so often overlooked. An exact contemporary of artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Jeffrey Smart, Warren has lived happily enough with a much lower profile. This is partly a reflection of his personality, which displays … More


Katharina Grosse

February 2, 2018

There’s a certain Guinness-Book-of-Records quality about Katharina Grosse’s installation at Carriageworks. On opening night everyone kept asking: “Is this the biggest painting in the world? Is this the biggest painting ever made in Australia?”, and so on. My short answer was: “I don’t know, but I’ve never seen a bigger painting anywhere.” A quick Internet … More


Gerhard Richter

November 10, 2017

For decades Gerhard Richter has been one of the world’s most successful living artists, with work in museums and leading private collections all over the planet. The current record price for one of his paintings stands at US$46 million. Now comes the the biggest test of a long and distinguished career: Can he make it … More


Elisabeth Cummings

June 6, 2017

In the annals of Australian art Elisabeth Cummings was an almost invisible presence for the first 30 years of her career. The story would change in the early 1990s when she began to attract serious attention from private collectors, who are always quicker off the mark than public institutions. After a slow start, partly due … More


Louise Hearman

October 15, 2016

Smokers who have become desensitised to the horror photos on cigarette packets may be surprised to find the same images exquisitely rendered in paintings at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In a survey of Louise Hearman’s work, a glass case in a side room offers an insight into the strange, unsettling pictures found in the … More


LOUISE HEARMAN: AGAINST THE GRAIN

October 14, 2016

I think I surrendered obediently to the secret laws which led me to form, as best as I could, and following my dream, the things into which I have put my entire being.[1] Odilon Redon, To Myself Like Des Esseintes, the antihero of Huysmans’s cult novel of 1884, Against the Grain (À rebours), Louise Hearman … More


John Olsen: The You Beaut Country

October 7, 2016

John Olsen has always been larger-than-life – a quality that has fostered both adulation and irritation. In the 1950s when he was still searching for a direction, Olsen did some thinking about the nature of art. “If it’s not a game there’s something wrong,” he concluded. According to his biographer, Darleen Bungey, this would become … More


Marion Borgelt & Paul Selwood

September 17, 2016

Ever since mayor, Jeff McCloy, decided that Newcastle Art Gallery couldn’t afford a renovation and didn’t need a director, the place has been as lively as a wet weekend in Miami. This has been a disaster for one of Australia’s leading regional galleries. Perhaps only Ballarat and Bendigo could claim to have more important collections, … More


Salon des Refusés 2016

August 5, 2016

Émile Zola gave us a vivid, barely-fictionalised account of the first Salon des Refusés, in his novel, L’Oeuvre (AKA. The Masterpiece): “He could see the visitors’ mouths gaping, their eyes narrowing, from the moment they passed the door; across the room, a group of young people were staggering back against the archway as if someone … More


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