Articles on Painting

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Thomas Hart Benton’s murals at the Indiana University Auditorium depict the social history of the state. Joseph

The misguided campaign to remove a Thomas Hart Benton mural

A controversial panel on Indiana University's campus depicts Ku Klux Klan members, but Benton had a reason for including them. Is avoidance really the best way to deal with dark episodes of the past?
Detail from Gerhard Richter’s Reader (804), 1994 Oil on canvas. 72 x 102cm. Collection: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA Purchase through the gifts of Mimi and Peter Haas and Helen and Charles Schwab, and the Accessions Committee Fund: Barbara and Gerson Bakar, Collectors Forum, Evelyn D. Haas, Elaine McKeon, Byron R. Meye

Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images is an unmissable show

Gerhard Richter - one of the giants of post-war German art - is elusive, enigmatic and seemingly impossible to pin down. The first retrospective exhibition of his work in Australia is a brilliant and challenging event.
Detail from Fred Williams You Yang Pond 1963. oil on composition board Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide Gift of Godfrey Phillips International Pty Ltd 1968 © Estate of Fred Williams

Fred Williams in the You Yangs: a turning point for Australian art

A new exhibition features more than 50 works by Fred Williams, centred on the You Yangs peaks, west of Melbourne. They illuminate a breakthrough moment in Australian art.
Ryan Kelly’s iconic photograph of the moment that James Fields’ car plowed into a crowd of protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia. Ryan M. Kelly/AP

Is Ryan Kelly’s iconic photograph an American ‘Guernica’?

Ryan Kelly's iconic photograph from Charlottesville evokes a 'Unite the Right' moment from 1937 – and the anti-war masterpiece by Picasso that emerged from it.
Detail from Tony Albert Self-portrait (ash on me), acrylic on linen. 102 x 102 cm © the artist Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW

The Archibald finalists – and why Tony Albert deserves to win

The packers' favourite has gained prominence and there are few portraits of politicians in this year's popular art prize. The stand out work is a deceptively innocent re-appropriation of Aboriginal kitsch.
Andrew Wyeth stands by a creek on his Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania property in 1964. AP Photo/Bill Ingraham

Andrew Wyeth and the artist’s fragile reputation

His rise was just as swift as his fall. To mark the painter's 100th birthday, an art historian explores the forces – cultural, political and personal – that created a polarizing legacy.
Part of Charles Blackman’s The Exchange, 1952, oil on plywood on composition board. 91.7 x 91.7 cm National Gallery of Victoria © Charles Blackman

The schoolgirls of Charles Blackman – haunting works from a politically innocent age

Today, the idea of a male artist making a major series of paintings about schoolgirls, or any sort of children, sits uncomfortably with the public. But these were memorable and original works when painted in the 1950s.
A detail from Vincent Van Gogh’s, Olive grove with two olive pickers, December 1889 Saint-Rémy, oil on canvas 73.3 x 92.2 cm. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo © Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands

Here’s looking at: Vincent Van Gogh’s Olive grove with two olive pickers

The pickers and sinewy olives in this painting all strain upward towards the hope of spiritual salvation. But six months after he completed it, Vincent Van Gogh walked out into a wheat field and shot himself.
‘Maus’ and ‘Watchmen’ are two of the most well-known graphic novels. Ken Whytock/flickr

How the graphic novel got its misleading moniker

The graphic novel has become a literary phenomenon, but the name doesn't adequately describe the medium's flexibility, diversity and potential.
Detail of Judy Watson, black ground (1989) courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria. © Judy Watson/Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia

Here’s looking at: black ground, 1989 by Judy Watson

Judy Watson pours ochre and pigment onto unstretched canvases laid on the ground. The puddling and drying created an image of a simple termite mound with a profound connection to country.
Mike Parr’s performance work ‘Jackson Pollock the female’ is part homage and part sabotage. National Gallery of Australia

Here’s looking at: Mike Parr’s Jackson Pollock the Female

Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles is one of Australia's most famous cultural acquisitions. When Mike Parr lay supine before it, streaked with his own blood, he offered a new way of looking at the act of painting.

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