Articles on Painting

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Detail from Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1616. Her role playing predates by centuries the preoccupations of artists such as Cindy Sherman. Wikimedia

Explainer: Artemisia Gentileschi, a Baroque heroine for the #MeToo era

Born into late-16th century Papal Rome, Gentileschi transcended the path of utter obscurity that was the lot of her female peers to become one of the most famous painters of the day.
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?
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.
Sidney Nolan’s Steve Hart dressed as a girl 1947 from the Ned Kelly series 1946 – 1947 enamel paint on composition board 90.60 x 121.10 cm. Gift of Sunday Reed 1977 National Gallery of Australia

Here’s looking at: Steve Hart dressed as a girl, 1947 by Sidney Nolan

As a bushranger in the Kelly gang, Steve Hart took to dressing as a woman and riding side-saddle to avoid detection. Sidney Nolan's painting captures Hart's adolescent cockiness, bravery, and foolhardy bluster.
Former President Bill Clinton promotes ‘The President is Missing,’ the new novel he wrote with James Patterson, in New York. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

In retirement, most ex-presidents can’t resist the urge to stay relevant

What happens to motivated, determined and egotistical men when they are forced to abandon the White House? As John Quincy Adams once said, 'There is nothing more pathetic in life than a former president.'
Artist Nyapanyapa Yunipingu is assisted by art centre worker Jeremy Cloake at Buku-Larrnngay Art Centre,Yirrkala. Siobhan McHugh

Aboriginal art: is it a white thing?

White people hugely influence the Aboriginal art world – but that can be a good thing, according to the artists.
Katharina Grosse Untitled Trumpet, 2015, All the World’s Futures, 56th Art Biennale, La Biennale di Venezia 09.05. - 02.11.2015 acrylic on wall, floor, and various objects, 660 x 2,100 x 1,300 cm / 259 ¾ x 826 ¾ x 511 ¾ in. Photo: Nic Tenwiggenhorn Copyright: © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

How painting escaped the canvas and another brush with death

How is it that contemporary painting has dug its heels in, so to speak, and refuses to look like a painting anymore?
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.

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