Articles on Australian art

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Dorrit Black, The Bridge, 1930. Oil on canvas on board, 60.0 x 81.0 cm. Bequest of the artist, 1951, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.

How our art museums finally opened their eyes to Australian women artists

Dorrit Black, Grace Cossington Smith and Grace Crowley were some of many talented modernist women artists. But only with the advent of second wave feminism in the 1970s was their work properly acknowledged.
Visitors look at Blue poles (1952) during its trip to London for an abstract expressionism exhibition in 2016. Andy Rains/EPA

Blue poles 45 years on: asset or overvalued drip painting?

The 1973 purchase of Jackson Pollock's abstract expressionist painting – at a record price for the time – was a controversial moment in Australian art. Was it worth it?
S.T. Gill, Kangaroo Hunting, The Death, from his Australian Sketchbook (1865). Colonial hunting clubs were established across Australia in the 1830s and 1840s. National Library of Australia

Friday essay: the art of the colonial kangaroo hunt

In the mid 19th century, kangaroo hunting was a sport. Colonial hunting clubs were established across Australia and everyone from Charles Darwin to Anthony Trollope tried their hand at shooting roos.
Detail from Brett Whiteley. Sacred baboon 1975 brush and ink, wood stain, watercolour, gouache and cut printed colour illustration on cardboard 81.6 x 67.6 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, 1978 (A23-1978) © Wendy Whiteley

An ape in anguish: Brett Whiteley’s Sacred baboon

Throughout his life, Brett Whiteley made images of apes and monkeys. He found much in their character and physiognomy to identify with.
Mirka Mora sitting surrounded by her colourful doll and soft sculpture creations and tapestries in 1978. Courtesy of the Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive, State Library of Victoria.

Au revoir Mirka Mora, your joie de vivre will live on

Mirka Mora survived the second world war to carve out a unique place for herself in the Australian art world. Over six decades, her creativity was legendary.
Charles Blackman posed next to his work in Sydney in 2013. Tracy Nearmy/AAP

Charles Blackman’s poetic vision contained an undertone of dread

Charles Blackman forged an urbanised image of Australia that for most, was more familiar than the mythic landscapes of Sidney Nolan or Arthur Boyd. Yet though familiar, it remains uncomfortable.
Detail from John Russell: Almond tree in blossom c1887. oil on gold ground on canvas on plywood 46.2 x 55.1 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. The Joseph Brown Collection. Presented through the NGV Foundation by Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE, Honorary Life Benefactor, 2004 (2004.216)

From Monet to Rodin, John Russell: Australia’s French Impressionist maps artistic connections

John Russell, who was destined to become an engineer, instead became an artist in fin de siècle France – and a friend of Van Gogh, Monet and Rodin.
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.
Detail from Jenny Watson’s The Pretty Face of Domesticity, 2014, oil and synthetic polymer paint on velvet striped shantung. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Transit, Mechelen ©the artist

A maverick on fabric: the strange, unconventional art of Jenny Watson

A major exhibition of Jenny Watson's work at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art spans 40 years in the creative life of a rule-breaking Australian artist.
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.
90s sister Sophie Lee in Patricia Piccinini’s Psychogeography 1996, printed 1998. from the Psycho series 1996. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Optus Communications Pty Limited, Member, 1998 (1998.252) © Patricia Piccinini

Friday essay: the 90s – why you had to be there

The 1990s was once the forgotten decade of the 20th century but no longer.
Brett Whiteley: his colourful biography frequently obscures the seriousness of his work. Transmission films

Whiteley: a seductive cinematic portrait of a serious artist

Brett Whiteley's output was uneven but at his best, his work was brilliant. A new film offers an unusual insight into the life and art of this creative and troubled maverick.
Part of Meere’s iconic painting Australian Beach Pattern. Halstead Press

Discovering Charles Meere: an intriguing, subversive artist

Charles Meere's painting Australian Beach Pattern is commonly seen as an iconic celebration of our beach culture. But a new book suggests this celebrated work expresses far darker concerns.
Unstacked allows us to see what others’ are searching for among the 6 million items in the State Library of NSW’s collection. Unstacked/the State Library of NSW

Unstacked: revealing the hidden gems of the State Library of NSW

A new website allows you to see what other people search for in the State Library of NSW's vast collection of artefacts -- and discover things you'd never think to look up in the first place.
Cate Blanchett disappears into her role as the Mother in RED: sweating and furious with the fundamental compulsion to mate. © del kathryn barton

Sex, death and del kathryn barton

Cate Blanchett howls and contorts in RED, del kathryn barton's ferocious exploration of female power.

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