One hundred and seventy-six elegant woodblock prints by Japanese nineteenth century artist Katsushika Hokusai are on display in Melbourne at the NGV. It’s a huge exhibition and a popular one. What is it about these images, from a culture aeons from mine in sensibility and almost two centuries in time that are so riveting? And why do they remind me of Turner, Freidrich and Cozens – those Northern European painters for whom landscape was a metaphor of transcendence? What could a Japanese printmaker have in common with a Romantic painterly sensibility? [Read more…]
Can you find quality artwork online?
If you like art, the internet is a great resource. It has become much easier to see very high quality images of artworks without leaving home. This is a boon to all of us art lovers – exhibitions that are held overseas or in distant places suddenly become (in a lesser version) available.
Of course the experience of an artwork online can only ever be an attenuated version of the real thing. The actual bodily experience of a work is about the presence of an object not an image. But as the market has discovered, we are limited in time and space and still want to experience art. The online world is working hard to meet this desire.
Can you find quality artwork online and is it a safe place to purchase art? I am often asked this question, and the answer is yes, with caution. It will be no surprise to you that profiteers producing large volumes of formulaic works for quick return will take advantage of sites that connect them to buyers. Added to this, the online market is geared towards turnover, not quality. Sites are emerging based on the models of real estate and car sales. But with the right navigational tools, you can also connect with top quality art and artists and see work almost in the process of emerging from the studios. This opportunity to connect with the makers is unprecedented and one of the best things about the online space.
I have researched the players, the motives and the market and put together a guide to take you on your art journey online. I don’t sell my work online, but I am passionate about artists and their audiences connecting. I have written this ebook to help people find genuine artists and high quality artwork. It’s a mad world out there – click on with caution!
Alexandra Sasse is a painter and writer based in Melbourne, Australia. She has a Masters in Fine Art from Monash University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Visual art from the Victorian College of the Arts, but she can still speak English. She does not sell art online.
Good Cover, Falls Creek was painted in the Bowl near the base of the Summit T bar in 2016. Although it was early in the season there had been very good falls the past couple of days followed by some brilliant sunshine. Despite my warmest ski gear, I can’t stay out for long so it’s essential to plan carefully. The day before I did this painting I spent some time wandering about making drawings to find a workable composition. I chose one of these drawings to sketch onto canvas back at the lodge before I came out. This method means I can fully concentrate on the essential elements that make up the brilliant whites and deep sky in this painting.
Here is the drawing that was done in preparation.
This picture (below) was taken by a passing snowboarder who also is a photographer – he clearly knows a few things about composition – see that perfect diagonal running from my figure up to the two clumps of trees and on to the horizon. I would like to credit him but I only know him as Tim.
The wooden box you can see in the top image has slots to hold the painting board and the palette in place, to get them both safely back to the lodge without a smudging disaster. A lot could go wrong, but nothing did this time!
This painting will be in the VIP Private Viewing February 2017
Bridge 38 Galley, Richmond, November 10th – 30th, 2016
Attending an exhibition opening can be a bit like going on a blind date. What if I don’t like the work? What will I say? Painting can go so wrong and often does. But in this small gallery in the heart of Richmond, sixteen paintings demonstrate that Harley Manifold knows what he is doing with paint. His surfaces are articulate, composite, layered. Colour is calibrated into convincing form. [Read more…]
David Hockney: Current
National Gallery of Victoria 11th November 2016 – 13th March 2017
Two mobile phones attached to a purple wall greet you at the entrance to this exhibition. Their screens are displaying images of David Hockney’s drawings done on a phone. My younger companion’s first reaction is not to the image but to the type of phone. Iphone not android she observes glancing and moving on.
Is this an exhibition about drawing, about Hockney or about technology? Or about advertising? Apple doesn’t seem to have its logo anywhere, but let’s face it; this exhibition is about one company’s product. Is Apple getting all this endorsement for free? [Read more…]
Arc Yinnar Biennial Drawing Prize
October 15 – November 26, 2016
There’s a converted butter factory in a small town tucked into the green rolling foothills of the Strzelecki ranges, where the main street is wide and cars are parked at 45 degree angles. Anyone who can spell Strzelecki must be a local. This is Yinnar on the doorstep of the still-operating Hazelwood coal-fired power station, subject of much debate and despair.
There’s a Drawing Prize here of national repute. Despite the rhetoric of demographic disasters: job losses, mine fires, pollution, asbestos and the rest, Arc Yinnar an artist run venture has been operating for 32 years. As well as hosting a national prize, it boasts two galleries, public access facilities for printmaking, ceramics, metalwork, photography, painting and drawing, a retail outlet, theatrette and private studios. All this on a shoestring grant of $3000. When the lights go out at Hazelwood, this sort of cooperative venture is what keeps communities afloat and shores up their identity. Its funding should be assured for the long term, but I am told it is reduced every year and tied to utilitarian outcomes.
A drawing show throws up immediate questions; how much drawing is going on, what do people draw and what do they draw for [Read more…]
Published in Trouble Magazine November 2016
This landscape painting prize, based in Sale, is one of those generous moments when a local benefactor makes a significant contribution to the nation’s cultural life. Art awards are like that. For a relatively small sum of money (especially compared to sponsoring sport) an exhibition can be established that generates national interest and ensures that serious contemporary work reaches the regions. Such is the foundation of this present show of 49 works selected from 426 entries. This is considerable bang for your buck.
This is an exhibition with vertiginous highs and repellent lows. Predominantly the work is largish and surreal. Colour has mostly escaped any sense of communicating place or mood and is garish even random. Landscape is realised as political trope, as apocalyptic, as memory, dream, and experience, but…
John Leslie Art Prize, 3rd September – 20 November 2016, Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale
This article was first published in the September 2016 issue of The Jackdaw
It hailed facts all day long so very hard, and life in general was opened to her as such a closely-ruled cyphering-book, that assuredly she would have run away…. Charles Dickens, Hard Times.
Perhaps you have noticed the prudish distaste that conceptual art has for any form of pleasurable aesthetic experience. It’s acceptable to be improved by a work of art or to be informed, but one should try not to enjoy the experience. Above all, one must not ask for that infamous quality that can mislead us all – beauty. Conceptual Art In Britain 1964-1979 at the Tate Britain until 29thAugust offers an opportunity to revisit this intensely puritanical movement. [Read more…]
Clarice Beckett: The Ordinary Instant
2 July to 11 September,
The Gallery, Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre, Brighton
Beckett’s lyrical soft focus paintings are associated with the tonal school of Max Meldrum and his obsession with contrasting shapes and pattern. This exhibition of over fifty works by Beckett (1887–1935) is shown in the context of seven contemporary women painters responding to her work: Lynne Boyd, Michelle Hamer, Kristin Headlam, Pia Murphy, Saffron Newey, Victoria Reichelt and Camilla Tadich.
Meldrum didn’t believe in drawing – his teleological view of art allowed him to believe he had discovered a new ‘science of appearances’ which superceded line drawing. Beckett adopted his views on [Read more…]
Published in The Jackdaw June 2016
A crowd is gathered in front of a picture, there’s shuffling and whispering, angling for a better view. Several people are up close, peering at the surface plane as if cross-examining it. The buzz of conversation is rising as viewers shift their weight and linger in front of this picture. The timed entry to the exhibition means the crowd behind is building, waiting. Finally the noise, now approaching cocktail party level, is too much for the guard. She issues a loud, insistent shhhhhhhhhhh!
It’s not the Mona Lisa, and it’s neither porn nor politics [Read more…]
What would make you drop everything? Last month I booked a ticket on Saturday and got on a 23 hour flight on Tuesday in a rush to see the MADRID REALIST exhibition in Spain. How uncommon to see contemporary paintings that are unafraid of either beauty or realism. [Read more…]