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…]
Seeing the world as more than a backdrop or stage-set for unfolding narratives is the basic premise of landscape painting. It requires sensation rather than symbol to be the dominant motive. This is at odds with the corrosive didacticism of much academic art which looks for the obvious moral in every artwork. The recently set up Hadley’s Art Prize – a $100,000 prize for an Australian landscape painting, is a case in point. It has been called a landscape prize when what they really require is history painting, and a certain kind of history at that.
Hobart hotel owner Don Neil has launched one of Australia’s richest art prizes, with an annual $100,000 award for landscapes…. and this year invites artists to address the theme “history and place”.
Artist and curator Julie Gough, who is one of the judges, says the award encourages artists to think beyond European concepts of landscape as depictions of sublime nature. “History is about story, and the entrants have to consider that as much as things such as vegetation and landforms,” says Gough. “It will be interesting to see how people push that theme.”
The Australian 27th Jan 2017
And here is Ben Quilty, judging the 2017 Glover Prize for Australian landscape painting and commenting: [Read more…]
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…]
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
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…]
Contemporary realism is rarely exhibited on these shores.
The perfect storm of the amateur embracing realism and the contemporary art establishment shunning it has resulted in a dearth of serious figurative painting exhibitions. But it’s big news in Spain with the Madrid Realists exhibition at the Thyssen Bornemisza museum. And these are real paintings, not that nonsense that passes for paintings, those made by projecting digital images on to a canvas and colouring in with paint. Not sure of the difference? You wouldn’t be alone in that. [Read more…]
Painting in others’ footsteps
I am in the final stages of a landscape painting which will be called A Quiet Day in Northcote. Perhaps Arthur Boyd was right when he said …all Australian paintings are in some way a homage to Tom Roberts … as Roberts’ own work A QUIET DAY ON DAREBIN CREEK, has been much in my mind as I worked on this picture. [Read more…]
Constructing a strong composition or design is key to a successful painting. One element of design is depth, but how does an artist depict a volume of space? Traditionally it is taught that recession can be achieved through tone – that is lighter areas at the background of a work and darker areas towards the foreground. You can see this in landscapes such as Caspar Freidrich’s Evening Landscape with Two Men
But what if a motif has very little tonal recession? [Read more…]