“Axiomatically, we cannot foretell what truths these artworks might arrive at, or whether in fact they will arrive at any.” —Julian Bell on the sublime in contemporary art, in a fantastic old research paper for the Tate
Excerpt of a story published in Art Collector, Jan-Mar 2015
Tomislav Nikolic insists his work doesn’t reproduce well. For him, painting is a three-dimensional object and photography only flattens it. For his last exhibition at Jensen’s Sydney gallery, he applied multiple layers of transparent colour washes to paper. “By applying dozens or even hundreds of coats of paint it builds up a density and a body of colour. When you’re looking at what looks to be one solid colour, you’re actually not looking at the surface, you’re looking through hundreds of layers of paint,” he explains. Only by looking at a work in the flesh can you get the experience of “how that colour and that pigment and that medium behaves,” he says.
“For a long time I harboured an irrational dislike of the landscape painter John Constable, based mostly on the fact that his paintings appeared on my grandparents’ ‘good’ place mats. To a kid inside on a hot day, marooned between the main and the dessert, Constable’s rivers and hedgerows looked damp, boringly British and disappointingly free of bandits. Years later I turned a corner at the National Gallery in London to encounter one of those paintings and nearly reeled back with its force: a terrific, seething paint-heavy thing – clouds like curds, peaty blacks, and a glitter hanging over it all. I doubt I’m telling you something you don’t already know, but here’s a rule to live by: Never trust a place mat.” —Justin Paton in How to Look at a Painting
In my family it was McCubbin. Ah, the ‘good’ place mats. So many birthdays and special dinners spent staring at McCubbin. And, because it was the 80s, we had glass plates so I didn’t have to wait for the break between main and dessert.
Published in Art Collector, Issue 80, April-June 2017
Seriously, if you’re ever feeling jaded about the art world, this woman is your cure. Sydney-based art collector Ginny Green is such a fierce supporter of art and artists. Plus she has a phenomenal eye. The full four-page feature is in the current issue of Art Collector.
Oh and happy birthday to Art Collector! The magazine celebrates its 20th anniversary this issue. Surviving in the art and publishing worlds is a tough gig.
Published in Art Collector, Issue 79, January-March 2017
It was a sublime for our time, for the Anthropocene. There was awe and reverence for the natural world but there was something new and unsettling too, some hard-edged core, to Todd McMillan’s Farewell, exhibited at Sarah Cottier Gallery in Sydney in October.
Published in Art Collector, Issue 79, Jan-Mar 2017
Jane O’Sullivan previews the multi-venue exhibition that the Australian contemporary art world has been waiting for.
The National. Another gumtree exhibition about what it means to be Australian? “Absolutely not,” says the MCA’s curatorial & digital director Blair French with a laugh. He admits it’s a provocative title but says that’s part of the point. “What it does is throws up the question, if you’re not creating a nationalist show or trying to work at ideas of nationhood, which we’re not, then how can you use that title to problematise those ideas?”
“‘This show deals with identity and gender…’ could mean ‘I want the person who is writing this to be successful. I want you to like them. I want you to provide them with a flat in the Barbican’ or it could mean ‘Could you place another dob of mayonnaise on their avocado?’ or it could mean ‘Take these people, who I find disgusting, to a deserted and dusty area and kill every one of them'” —BANK artist group via the online archive of the Faxbak London project