Articles on Visual art

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Kamsani Bin Salleh and Matthew McVeigh, Foodland, 2018, found metal sign and acrylic, 125 x 400 cm. Janet Holmes à Court Collection

Rethinking what it means to be Australian through art

This Perth exhibition is a raucous, overwhelming, exciting and at times confusing immersion into ideas about national identity.
Detail from Witchetty Grub Dreaming, Jennifer Napaljarri Lewis, Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu. Courtesy of the artist

The resonances between Indigenous art and images captured by microscopes

A new exhibition pairs paintings by Indigenous Australian artists with microscopic images captured by scientists. The parallels, as this gallery of pictures shows, are intriguing.
Paul Signac, ‘Leaving the Port of Marseille’ 1906/7 oil on canvas, 46 x 55.2 cm, The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Inv GE 6524. Photo: © The State Hermitage Museum 2018, Vladimir Terebenin.

Modern Art from The Hermitage showcases the French gems of two great merchant collectors

In the early 20th century, two families of collectors brought the best of modern French art to Russia. Many of their paintings - including works by Picasso, Matisse and Cezanne - can now be seen in Sydney.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Justine Varga, Photogenic Drawing, 2017, installation view, Sydney Contemporary, Carriageworks. Photo: Nick Kreisler Courtesy of the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide

Tarrawarra Biennial underwhelms rather than energises

The 2018 Tarrawarra Biennial explores the act of creation itself, dissolving boundaries between mind/body, physical/spiritual, and form/content. But the experience in the gallery is sometimes something of an anti-climax.
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.
But is it art…? Fast-car fans Maurice and Harry in the Art Gallery of New South Wales in ABC’s Everyone’s A Critic. ABC

When art meets reality TV our visual literacy is found wanting

The ABC's reality TV show Everyone's A Critic puts 'everyday' Australians in galleries. It is a compelling premise for an art show, but a tad disappointing.
Close up of the wheel in Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, 1951 (third version, after lost original of 1913) Metal wheel mounted on painted wood stool. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp

Here’s looking at: Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel 1913

In his Bicycle Wheel, Duchamp made the perfect kinetic Futurist sculpture.

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