Queensland Art Gallery

Sam Fullbrook

May 17, 2014
Sam Fullbrook / Northwest landscape with Aborigines (detail) 1955 / Oil on canvas/ Gift of Mrs Anthea Wieneke 1984 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery/ © The artist /

When Matisse suggested that if you want to be an artist you must first cut out your tongue, he was acknowledging a fundamental truth: artists spout a lot of rubbish when they talk about their work. Rare indeed is the painter who can discuss his or her pictures in a calm, pragmatic manner, but Sam … More


Cai Guo-Qiang

December 14, 2013
Cai Guo-Qiang, Hold On (installation view) Queensland Art Gallery, 2013

Cai Guo-Qiang is an artist who understands spectacle. In an international art scene as crowded as a commuter train at rush hour he creates large-scale installations that stop viewers in their tracks. Where so many artists are identified with a trademark style, Cai has managed to regularly turn over his themes and techniques. What all … More


Portrait of Spain

July 28, 2012
Alonso Sánchez Coello, The infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia and Magdalena Ruiz (detail) c.1585–88, oil on canvas, 207 X 129 cm

Over the years one grows wary of the claims made for so-called ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions. Each new show is the biggest, the best, the first, the most important. It is, therefore, a pleasure to see an exhibition that lives up to its pre-publicity. None of the 100 works borrowed for Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the … More


Modern Woman

April 21, 2012
Edgar Degas, France 1834–1917 Seated dancer leaning forward, massaging her left foot c.1881–83 Pastel, brown paper backed with cardboard 62 x 49cm

Rather like its subject, Modern Woman is one of those exhibitions that must be approached with no fixed expectations, for it has the capacity to instill both disappointment and delight. Any event that includes names such as Degas, Bonnard, Renoir, Manet, Pissarro, Millet, Rodin, Vuillard and Toulouse-Lautrec, would seem to have ‘blockbuster’ written all over … More


Thomas Demand, Gonkar Gyatso

April 14, 2012
Thomas Demand, Daily #7, 2008, Dye Transfer Print, 84.7 x 77.7cm (framed)

There have been 24 previous Kaldor Public Art Projects in Sydney, but never anything so cool and oblique as Thomas Demand’s The Dailies 2012. The work is not installed in a gallery, but in the Commercial Travellers’ Association Club, in the MLC Centre, just off Martin Place. The unconventional venue is an essential part of … More


Goodbye Margaret, hello Brisbane

July 31, 2011
Margaret Olley sketching in Newcastle, 1965

There are a number of phone calls that I dread, although they are inevitable. One arrived last Wednesday when the SMH Arts Editor, Clare Morgan, rang to tell me that Margaret Olley had died. Margaret has been a fixture on the Australian art scene since the 1940s, and it would be difficult to think of … More


Ethel Carrick & E. Phillips Fox

April 30, 2011
Ethel Carrick Fox, Flower market, Nice c.1925. Oil on canvas. 60 x 73cm.

Words such as “delightful” do not play much of a role in this column, but if ever there were an occasion for such a lapse, it would be Art, Love & Life: Ethel Carrick & E. Phillips Fox, at the Queensland Art Gallery. The Foxes were a successful partnership, both as man and wife, and … More


21st Century

January 8, 2011
Mitra Tabrizian, City, London, 2008

In 1942 Peggy Guggenheim opened her Art of this Century gallery in New York, designed by the Austrian architect, Frederick Kiesler. The gallery’s Abstract Room featured paintings suspended in mid-air. A Surrealist Room had concave walls, from which pictures were cantilevered on wooden joints made from sawn-off baseball bats. In a Kinetic Room the viewer … More


Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future

September 18, 2010
Screen shot 2012-01-12 at 12.08.34 PM

Philosophers should make a comprehensive study of  Valentino Garavani, because if he isn’t a genuinely happy man this proves human happiness is an unobtainable ideal. The great couturier retired in 2008 at the peak of his fame, adored by the world’s most glamorous and influential people. His life-style, as revealed in Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary, Valentino: … More


Hats and James Fardoulys

April 24, 2010
James Fardoulys, The start of Burke and Wills 1860, 1972, Oil on board, 77 x 93cm; 88 x 101.5cm

Lewis Carroll cannot take complete credit for the expression: “as mad as a hatter”. Even before he created the most famous tea party in world literature, hatters had quite a reputation. The mercury compounds used in 19th century hat making induced a range of symptoms including trembling fits and mood swings. It is unlikely that … More


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