S.H. Ervin Gallery

Utzon’s Opera House

January 6, 2014
Rew Hanks, Eternity, 2006, coloured linocut.

“It has made me feel glad I am alive in Australia today,” wrote Patrick White in 1965, after a tour of the Sydney Opera House with architect, Jorn Utzon. “At last we are going to have something worth having.” The official opening in 1973 was overshadowed by the long and painful building process, which began … More


Windows to the Sacred

September 14, 2013
Aleister Crowley, The Hierophant (study for Tarot), 1921

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” was the personal motto of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) once known to the headline writers as “the Great Beast” and “The Wickedest Man Alive.” It was a philosophy that would endear him to the counter-culture of the sixties and make him a hero for rock … More


Salon de Refusés 2013 & Jenny Sages

April 20, 2013
Jenny Sages, Irina Baranova (handing on the baton), 2007, oil and encaustic on board

This year’s Archibald Prize was one of the most even contests in decades, but also one of the least memorable. There have been pictures in previous competitions that would have romped home in this year’s field, but the luck and timing was with Del Kathryn Barton, not with the ghosts of Archibalds past. If there … More


Angus Nivison: A Survey

January 12, 2013
Angus Nivison, Summer Cotton Bimbang, 2009, Acrylic, charcoal, pigments and gesso on canvas, 200 x 360cm

For those of us who spend their lives going in and out of art galleries there’s nothing better than being surprised. Before entering Angus Nivison’s survey at the S.H. Ervin Gallery I felt entirely familiar with this artist’s work. I’d even written a preface for the catalogue when the exhibition debuted at the Tamworth Regional … More


David Boyd

September 8, 2012
David Boyd's painting from his Murrumbeena series.

If one had to nominate a director to make a movie about the Boyd family, it would be hard to go past Wes Anderson. After watching his new film, Moonrise Kingdom, I imagined what he might do with the eccentric childhood of David Boyd and his siblings at their Murrumbeena property, Open Country. One painting … More


Salon des Refusés

April 28, 2012
Depiction of Geoffrey Lehmann by Tom Carment

In the brochure that accompanies this year’s Salon des Refusés at the S.H.Ervin Gallery, one reads that the show is “in the tradition of the renegade French Impressionists of the 1860s, who held a breakaway exhibition from the reactionary French Academy.” Leaving aside the fact that the term ‘Impressionism’ wasn’t used until the 1870s, this … More


Russell Drysdale: The Drawings

March 3, 2012
Russell Drysdale, Church and Buildings, Hill End,1948

When Lou Klepac tells us that Russell Drysdale “was always reluctant to get on with painting or even drawing,” it is the merest understatement. Of all the Australian artists who have made a lasting contribution to the national culture, Drysdale was the least driven by either ambition or compulsion. This year is the hundredth anniversary … More


Wendy Sharpe

March 12, 2011
Wendy Sharpe, 3 O'Clock in the morning 1997, Oil on canvas, 30cm x 30cm

Delacroix is reputed to have quipped that if an artist could not draw a man who had jumped from a fourth storey window before he hit the ground, he could never go in for “the big stuff”. Wendy Sharpe, who once painted a large-scale copy of Delacroix’s Death of Sardanapalus, would be up to the … More


Lawrence Daws

February 20, 2010
Lawrence Daws, Night sea journey, 1994, oil on canvas, 137.0 x 158.0 cm

Lawrence Daws had an “early” retrospective at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 1966, when he was thirty-nine years old. This seems remarkable when one learns that Daws, who born in Adelaide, had his first solo exhibition in 1954. Was he considered such a prodigy that twelve years’ work was enough for a show … More


Nicholas Harding Jeff Mincham

January 30, 2010
Nicholas Harding, In the swell (snorkeller), 2006, oil on Belgian linen, 56x51c

Paintings may greet the viewer with grand attitudes or ugly looks, but most of them know their limitations. We find ourselves staring at an arrangement of colours and forms on a flat surface that provides an imaginary window onto the world – nature seen through a temperament, to use Zola’s formulation. Having become accustomed to … More