Image above: Arthur Streeton, Near Streeton’s Camp at Sirius Cove, 1892
Jacqueline Aust, Span, 2018
Rosalie Gascoigne, Banana Yellow, 1998
Brook Andrew, Rainbow across the world II, 2018
Eubena Nampitjn, Ikara,1992
Nicolas Harding, Dog Parramatta Road, 2007
Ben Quilty The Easter Bunny, 2018
Ben Quilty, Development Application (John Glover), 2018
Imi Knoebel, FaceEd 83
Jeffery Mincham AM, For Robert, 2018
Wednesday 12 September 2018 Bohemian Harbour, Artists of Lavender Bay, Museum of Sydney
Interesting selection ‘from Conrad Martens to Margaret Olley to Brett Whiteley’ including Peter Kingston, Tom Carment, Philip Cox, Joel Elenberg, Robert Jacks, Rollin Schlicht, Martin Sharp, Garry Shead and Tim Storrier., some rarely seen Brett Whiteley works. A short film, Fanta directed by Garry Shead 1973, starring Wendy Whiteley, highly entertaining.
Margaret Olley, North Sydney c1947
Brett Whiteley, The telephone, 1976
Brett Whiteley, Sydney Harbour, 1980
Friday 7 September 2018 Liu Dapeng, Shan Shui Australis, Vermilion Gallery, Walsh Bay, Sydney
Subtle brushwork, line, and colour.
Liu Dapeng, Epic, 2017
Liu Dapeng, Mountain Dwelling, 2018
Liu Dapeng, One River Two Banks, 2018
Friday 24 August 2018 Belle Ile: Euan Macleod & Luke Sciberras, Manly Art Gallery, Sydney
“Recent expedition to Belle Île, off the coast of Brittany, France, on this pilgrimage, the artists were following in the late 19th Century footsteps of – and paying homage to – expatriate Australian painter John Peter Russell. The exhibition runs concurrently with the Art Gallery of NSW’s exhibition, John Russell: Australia’s French Impressionist” (see below). Euan Macleod all about “landscapes of the mind”, tonal extremes, contrast, powerful mood, sense of place and depth. Luke Sciberras onslaught of colour, “play of line produces an energy of being in the landscape”, a vitality in the en plein air studies “capturing the energy of the moment.”
Euan Macleod, Steps to Beach 2017-18
Euan Macleod, Guillotine, 2017-18
Luke Sciberras, Toul Rock, Belle Ile, 2017
Luke Sciberras, Pinnacles Between, Belle Ile, 2018
Luke Sciberras, North Facing, Belle Ile, 2018
Wednesday 22 August 2018 Ann Dangar Ceramics from Moly-Sabata, AGNSW
Impressive collection, style and refinement “innovative pottery designs that fuse traditional techniques with modernist motifs. An early exponent of cubism in Australia, moved permanently to France in 1930, becoming the central figure in an artists commune, Moly-Sabata, established by French cubist painter Albert Gleizes.”
The Adoration of the Magi (post 1942)
Friday 10 August 2018 William Robinson: Genesis, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
A “contemporary landscape painter, celebrated in particular for his original and powerful approaches to depicting the Australian environment through a multi-dimensional viewpoint.” Well painted works but conventional.
William Robinson, The sea with morning sun from Springbrook, 1996
William Robinson, Creation landscape: The dome of space and time, 2003-04
William Robinson, Creation landscape: The dome of space and time, 2003-04 (detail)
Tuesday 7 August 2018 John Russell Australia’s French impressionist, AGNSW, Sydney
On the positive side, the portraits and watercolours are interesting, on the negative side, the landscapes are problematic, the light missing. He knew he wasn’t in the same league as his friends and acquaintances in Paris, maybe the reason he found obscurity on his return to Australia. Stand well back, across the room, the landscapes seem to shine, but closer there is no inherent light, the palette murky. By contrast instantly drawn to the single works by Monet and Matisse, probably an unfair comparison.
Claude Monet, Rain at Belle-Ile, 1886
Henri Matisse, Rocks at Belle-Ile, 1897
John Russell, Antibes, 1890-92
John Russell, Rough Sea, Morstil, Belle-Ile, c1900
John Russell, Untitled (South of France Woodlands), 1920
Friday 27 July 2018 The Sleeper Awakes, White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney
Sun Xun, Republic of Jing Bang, 2013 multimedia installation about an imaginary country, contains 49 separate, individually titled artworks, including 31 metre long scroll painting. Masterful performance by a maestro of classical Chinese brush strokes.
Wednesday 25 July 2018 Spacemakers and roomshakers, installations from the collection, AGNSW, Sydney
Ernesto Neto, Just like drops in time, nothing 2002, polymer stretch fabric, spices
“formal harmony and simplicity that derives from conceptual clarity”
Reference: The Idea of Art – Building a Contemporary International Art Collection, Anthony Bond, 2015
Phyllida Barlow, untitled: brokenupturnedhouse 2013
Wednesday 25 July 2018 Playback: Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial 2018, AGNSW “Presents new work by Australian artists that find a connection between drawing and the moving image”
Jason Phu, I drew this, then I died, 2018
Calligraphy with a symbolic stratigraphy of Chinese folklore. Includes video of the creation of the work by a three headed demon (concept, media, drawing), calligraphy strokes made with a mop.
Locust Jones The end of the beginning, New Year’s Eve to April fools 2018
“a fragment of Jones’ scroll l, which unfolds like ‘a visual ticker tape of the 24-hour news cycle’. It captures that quality of constant noise – of streaming – with no sense of a beginning, a solution, or an end. It is cinematic in scale and gesture.” (ArtsHub review). A visual diary of the events and people that made the daily news from New Year’s Eve to April Fools Day.
Sharon Goodwin, Never is Forever 2, 2018
Saturday 21 July 2018 Measured Response, National Art School Gallery, Sydney
“Brings together contemporary Aboriginal perspectives that engage with bodily and spiritual practices of art-making.” The relationship between the material and the maker “transformation of an object from one state to another. Lorraine Connelly-Northey works with industrial and metal discarded materials, corrugated iron, chicken wire, barbwire to form Waradgerie cultural objects including narrbangs (string bags) and koolimans (bush bowls).”
Saturday 21 July 2018 Tribal Art Fair, Oceanic Art Society, National Art School, Sydney
Eclectic collections of masks, carvings, artefacts from Papua New Guinea, the Pacific, and Southeast Asia.
from Palau in Micronesia
Friday 20 July 2018 Ryoji Ikeda, Micro | Macro, Carriageworks, Sydney
“An immersive installation which sits at the intersection of art and quantum physics.”
On a cold mid-winter morning in search of ideas, motivation, inspiration, a blast of contemporary art. Cosmic light, colour, action, mesmerising, timeless.
Friday 20 July 2018 Daniel Buren, Like Child’s Play, Carriageworks, Sydney
“Colour is pure thought, and therefore completely inexpressible, every bit as abstract as a mathematical formula or a philosophical concept”
Complex, calculated, site specific, hard edge abstraction with a dash of optical illusion to add some spin, objects in space, a reminder of Albers’ interaction of colour, keyed slightly muted complementary colours, discord and harmony.
Friday 13 July 2018 Sun Xun, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
The power of the four treasures (ink, brush, paper, ink-stone) in the hands of a young master, vitality, classical brush stoke forms including spread-out and entangled hemp fibres, small and big axe cuts, ravelled rope, splash ink, crab claw, rat’s foot dot, mi dots, nail head, iron-wire lines, nailhead rat tail lines. Complex ideas and symbols, one of Sun Xun’s quotes “an artist should live in state of confusion and awkwardness”.
Ink on newspaper
Ink on newspaper
Work in progress
Work in progress
Saturday 7 July 2018 John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Master bark rarrker blockbuster, sensational. First impression overawed by the scale, intricate detail of the works, in later works a shimmering effect mesmerising. After attending a one and half hour session, a conversation with Mawurndjul via interpreter (Murray Garde) and curator (Keith Munro), another walk around the exhibition, the works even more compelling, sacred places and spirits – Djang. There are 165 works in the exhibition, a career spanning more than 40 years, which has included exhibitions held around the world. One of this country’s greatest artists.
Some excerpts from the exhibition catalogue, worth repeating to saviour what is an extraordinary experience.
“First exhibition to place Kuninjku language and culture as part of the exhibition. Collaboration between Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of South Australia in association with Maningrida Arts & Culture. Masterfully accomplishing the translation of a culturally specific artistic vernacular into a contemporary international idiom. The works depict flora, fauna, ancestral events, supernatural beings, significant sites and encrypted ceremonial designs. Mawurndjul uses bark, wood and ochre from his country. Vast hidden depths, breadths and power of the knowledge, he has commented that ‘his head is full of ideas’. Inventive intellectual virtuosity, power of translation, ability to create something new within a genre steeped in tradition. Mawurndjul has created labyrinths, ‘hall of mirrors’, to dazzle using the infinite reflections of rarrk and refractions of figures that emerge and dissolve at every turn and twist. Charismatic visionary whose art presents to the world the creative osmosis of ancient knowledge within the contemporary cultural economy of western Arnhem Land. Ultimately Mawurndjul’s art is a self-portrait: it is the embodiment of the contemporary spirit of an old soul, and like the bark paintings that ‘do not forget’, his work will be remembered for generations to come.”
Ngalyod (Rainbow Serpent) 1981
Namanjwarre, saltwater crocodile, 1988
Namarrkon Ngal-daluk, the Female Lightning Spirit, 1983
Female Lightning Spirit, 1984
Friday 22 June 2018 Girt by Sea, aerial photography of coastal Australia, Paddington Town Hall, Sydney
Girt, there is something about that archaic word and its context in the national anthem of the island continent ‘our home is girt by sea’, it works, it’s strong, evocative, with so much more grit than words like encircled, surrounded, or enclosed. This exhibition of aerial photographs by ‘two photographers, Tony Hewitt and Denis Glennon, who circumnavigated Australia in a light aircraft, flew for a total of 168 hours, total distance 34,213 kms’ from 1 April to 1 May 2017 to capture incredible literal and abstract images of the coastline. Can’t improve on nature only learn from it.
Girt by Sea Image 8
Girt by Sea Image 28
Girt by Sea Image 46
Girt by Sea Image 99
Friday 15 June 2018 – Inland Mariner – Joe Furlonger, Liverpool St Gallery, Sydney
“Exhibition of 9 paintings of land and sea and 4 portraits of the ‘Inland Mariner.’ Handmade pigment and PVA binder on reused canvases”. Landscapes reminiscent of Fairweather, layered, gestural abstraction with a sense of place.
Joe Furlonger, Dundas Landscape, 2018
Joe Furlonger, Landscape North West NSW, 2018
Friday 8 June 2018 Salon des Refusés, S. H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
‘Of the 859 entries to the Archibald Prize the AGNSW Trustees selected 58 works, and from 762 entries to the Wynne Prize the Trustees selected 46 works. From the remaining submission the [Salon des Refusés] selectors have chosen 34 works from the Archibald Prize entries and 17 works from the Wynne Prize entries for this alternative exhibition.’
As always, it is a complete mystery how and on what basis the selection of the works is made. ‘The criteria on which judgements are made need to be clearly articulated’ Perhaps, for the sake of at least some transparency, it is time the AGNSW trustees, and the S.H. Ervin selection panel provide statements about the basis for selection of works and the winners. Maybe someone (a couple of art critics?) could run an annual symposium, before entries close, on the latest developments in best practice in judging art competitions, and invite the trustees.
Wednesday 6 June 2018 The Lady and the Unicorn, AGNSW
Six large tapestries created about 1500, on loan from the Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge in Paris. A medieval morality tale, ravishing haute couture gowns, the changes in expression on the lion’s face seems to imply that there is something not entirely above board going on here, perhaps a reminder to maidens that if you grasp a unicorn by the horn your career is over, the swollen maiden’s eyes in the ‘Sight’ tapestry seems to suggest a not entirely happy outcome. Maybe there is more than just a streak of the satyr in the cloven hoofed, horned magical show pony. However, ‘the most widely accepted interpretation is that of an allegory of the five senses: smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight’ (the gateways to temptation).
Friday 1 June 2018 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes, AGNSW
Another year, another controversial selection to keep the crowds returning, method in the madness, and everyone’s a critic. Chris Allen Archibald Prize: What were the judges thinking? and John McDonald The Archibald Prize 2018 reviews not far off piste this year but in their view it’s a downhill race. Joanna Mendelssohn’s review Archibald winner Yvette Coppersmith channels her inner Jacinda Ardern in an intelligent, classical work more measured. Meanwhile the Wynne Prize is going from strength to strength, the works capturing this place, Australia. The APY artists (from South Australian Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands) colourists extraordinaire combined with depth and meaning.
Yvette Coppersmith, Self-portrait, after George Lambert (2018 winner Archibald Prize)
Yukultji Napangati, (Untitled) (2018 winner Wynne Prize)
Sylvia Ken, Kungkarangkalpa tjukurpa (Seven Sisters story)
Maringka Baker, Minyma kutjara tjukurpa
Friday 25 May 2018 Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney
Run by the Natural History Museum in London, features the world’s best nature photography. Another year and this exhibition never disappoints. Some highlights.
Realm of the condor, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, Klaus Tamm, Germany
The unstoppable force, K6 basecamp, Himalayas, Pakistan, Paddy Scott, UK
March/April 2018 Biennale of Sydney
SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium & Engagement ‘presents the work of 70 artists and artist collectives from 35 countries, 300 works’. Not a blockbuster nor in your face, mind blowing shock of the new, but enough to impress. Subtle, thought provoking, meaningful, depth, time out to absorb some of the messages from the artists but, in some cases so minimal and conceptual there isn’t much there for the viewer who hasn’t read the artist’s summary. A selection.
Wednesday 14 March Art Gallery of NSW
Friday 23 March Carriageworks
Friday 30 March Museum of Contemporary Art
Friday 13 April Cockatoo Island
N S Harsha, Reclaiming the inner space, 2018, AGNSW
Chen Shaoxiong, The View, 2016, Carriageworks
George Tjungurrayi, (Untitled), 2016, Carriageworks
Sam Falls, The River, 2017, Carriageworks
Semiconductor, Earthworks, 2016, Carriageworks
Sosa Joseph, Irul (the dark), 2015, MCA
Yvonne Koolmatrie, Burial basket, 2017, MCA
Maria Taniguchi, Runaways, 2018, MCA
Haegue Yang, Lethal Love, 2008, MCA
Ai Weiwei, Law of the Journey, 2017, Cockatoo Island
Mit Jai Inn, Planes, 2018, Cockatoo Island
Friday 16 March 2019 Newcastle Art Gallery
Grisaille: shades of grey from the collection
Impressive selection of works from the Gallery’s collection ‘exploring the discordant and intriguing associations and qualities of the colour grey’. Includes diverse range of artists: John Brack, William Delafield Cook, Noel Counihan, James Gleeson, Frank Hinder, Max Linegar, Bea Maddock, Brett McMahon, Claire Martin, Nigel Milsom, Mike Parr and Fred Williams.
Elizabeth Cummings: Interior Landscapes
Third viewing of this exhibition, following visits to Drill Hall, Canberra (March 2017) and S.H Ervin Gallery, Sydney (June 2017). Like meeting up with old friends. Probably the best hang of all, light and space, the works even more alive and crackling with colour and energy. Amazed at what a difference a venue can make to the experience.
Mike Parr, Satan/Bamboulla (Bridge over the sewers of Hostralia), 1988
Michael Taylor, Mother and son, 1963
Royston Harpur, In the Sea, 1976
Elizabeth Cummings, Wedderburn Spring, 1993
Elizabeth Cummings, Bird in the bush, 1995
Elizabeth Cummings exhibition Newcastle Art Gallery, March 2018
Thursday 22 February 2018 Katharina Grosse, The Horse Trotted Another Couple Of Metres, Then It Stopped, Carriageworks, Eveleigh, Sydney
Installation, painting, sculpture, probably all three, massive scale, like walking into an action painting, reminiscent of Pollack, de Kooning, Frankenthaler.
‘Consistent with her recent interest in ‘folding’ space, Grosse has utilised more than 8,000 square metres of fabric, draped and knotted in direct response to Carriageworks’ architecture. Using a spray gun, Grosse has created a multilayered painting on the surfaces and folds of the fabric, resulting in a sublime and otherworldly environment.’
Friday 16 February 2018 Art In the Open, The Art House, Wyong
‘An annual outdoor art event, 25-30 selected artists are positioned between McMasters Beach and Terrigal Beach where they create art works en plein air’. Painters, sculptors and printmakers enter works from the day and a work inspired by the day in the exhibition. A great basis for an exhibition for local artists. Some of the works.
Debbie McKinnon, Wave Conversations
Felicity O’Connor, On the Rocks
Dino Consalvo, Rocks at Low Tide – Terrigal
Jon Ellis, North Avoca from the Lake
Tuesday 6 February 2018 North Head Project, Manly Art Gallery and Museum
‘Art created in response to North Head, Manly; exploring its Indigenous and cultural heritage, environmental significance, military history, and migration and quarantine stories.’ Worth a trip across the harbour to experience some site specific works of a place with a complex history, including aboriginal heritage, a quarantine station for 150 years, defence artillery range from 1930s to1960, great exhibition concept to reflect on the power of a place.
Christine Milne, Souls on Board
Karla Dickens, Boats and Black Bones
Hobie Porter, The midden record
Friday 2 February 2018 Rembrandt and the Dutch golden age
Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum, AGNSW
Despite the crowd, on entering the exhibition first impression hushed reverence in the presence of the masters, and time enough to spend with key works. The landscapes all about the sky, grey scale sublime. Influence on later artists obvious: Turner, Whistler, etc., even Morandi (see still life below). A selection.
Rembrandt, Samson and Delilah, 1626-30 (preparatory study)
Friday 26 January 2018 Blue Mountains City Art Gallery, Katoomba
Julie Paterson, Cloth: From Seeds to Bloom
Traces 20 years of work from textile designer and Blue Mountains resident, drawing inspiration from the bush, colour, floral forms and patterns, into domestic textile objects.
World Heritage Exhibition: Into the Blue
Permanent exhibition, high-tech interactive, includes views of the natural landscape of the Blue Mountains World Heritage area.
Friday 12 January 2018 Gosford Regional Gallery, Russell Drysdale: Bouddi,
Brett Whiteley: Other Places (Somewhere Else)
Worth the two hour journey from Sydney to see several Drysdale and Whiteley gems which are usually not on view. Drysdale captures the stark, surrealist grandeur of country and Whiteley’s unbridled self-assurance inescapable but you can’t help grinning after the visual hit. The infuriating thing is that all his work has personality, even the most questionable works (i.e. the seagull paintings).
Russell Drysdale, Dust Storm, West Kimberley, 1966
Russell Drysdale, Kimberley Landscape, 1964
Russell Drysdale, The Burnt Country, 1965
Brett Whiteley, The roofs in the rain, 1990
Brett Whiteley, Ille de la Cité at dusk, 1990
Brett Whiteley, Bob Dylan (…You realise he’s not selling any alibis), 1972
Wednesday 3 January 2018 Bush to Bay: Hinton and the Artists’ Camps, Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney
Some key works by Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton capture the light, but current crop a bit underwhelming, possibly because the artists were commissioned to do the works for the exhibition and therefore under pressure to perform.
Tom Roberts, Mosman Bay, 1894
Arthur Streeton, Near Streeton’s Camp at Sirius Cove, 1892
Arthur Streeton, Musgrave Street Wharf, 1895
Arthur Streeton, The Wharf, Mosman’s Bay, 1907