Articles on Visual art

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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 Katsushika Hokusai, The great wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki namiura), (1830–34), from the Thirty-six views of Mt Fuji (Fugaku-sanjū-rokkei) National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Felton Bequest, 1909 (426-2)

Friday essay: from the Great Wave to Starry Night, how a blue pigment changed the world

Hokusai's Great Wave is the enduring image of Japanese art. Less well known is the story of its primary pigment - Prussian blue - which was created in a lab accident in Berlin and sparked 'blue fever' in Europe.
A robot sculpts a recreation of the Ancient Greek work Laocoon and his Sons, which was exhibited in Linz last year. Ars Electronica/Flickr

Robot sculpture, coming to a gallery near you

Artists invented the word 'robot', but now robots are becoming artists, or at least assistants, themselves. As robots get smarter, artists will find more and more uses for them, particularly in sculpture.
Detail from Percy Leason, Thomas Foster, 1934, oil on canvas, 76.0 x 60.8 cm, State Library Victoria, Melbourne. Gift of Mrs Isabelle Leason, 1969 (H32094) © Max Leason

Friday essay: painting ‘The Last Victorian Aborigines’

Anthropologist Percy Leason thought he was painting the extinction of Victoria's Indigenous people in the 1930s. He was wrong, but his portraits, part of a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, are surprisingly sympathetic.
Detail of Jim Dine, The mighty robe I, 1985. Colour lithograph with relief printing from polymer plates, 61.3 x 50.7 cm (image and plate), 89.2 x 63.4 cm (sheet) National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Gift of the artist, 2016, 2016.806, © Jim Din

Here’s looking at: Jim Dine’s The mighty robe

Jim Dine and other pop artists like Andy Warhol took everyday things and transformed them into magical objects. In his prints a robe could become a self-portrait, a president, or a hero.
Untitled (all), Hans-Jörg Georgi, 2010–15, Courtesy of The Museum of Everything. Moorilla Gallery, Courtesy of Atelier Goldstein and The Museum of Everything (installation by Lutz Pillong)

The compulsion to create: ‘outsider art’ at MONA’s The Museum of Everything

MONA's latest exhibition draws on the work of people - patients, housewives, hermits - who were compelled to create, raising age-old questions about how we define art.
Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 2011. Stainless steel, 154 x 154 x 37 cm © the artist, image courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London

In a fractured world, Eurovisions opens a dialogue through art

EuroVisions: Contemporary Art from the Goldberg Collection presents 64 works by European artists. Its best moments are both intimate and inquisitive.
Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art: a must-see tourist destination, but for whom? Lukas Cooch/AAP

Who goes to MONA? Peering behind the ‘flannelette curtain’

The acclaimed Museum of Old and New Art is located in one of Tasmania's most disadvantaged municipalities. But new research has found that locals have mixed feelings about the gallery.
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.
Anne and Gordon Samstag dancing at home, Naples, Florida, USA, c1986. Photograph courtesy of Mrs Florence (Robbie) McBryde.

The Samstags: the untold story of a couple that changed Australian art

Many leading Australian artists have benefitted from a Samstag scholarship. But who were the Samstags and what motivated them to create this legacy?

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