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Articles on Painting

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Winner: Archibald Prize 1972: Clifton Pugh. ‘The Hon EG Whitlam’ 1972. Oil on composition board, 113.5 x 141.5 cm. © Estate of Clifton Pugh

‘I think Archie would be pleased’: 100 years of our most famous portrait prize and my almost 50 years watching it evolve

It's 100 years since the Art Gallery of NSW first held the Archibald Prize. Though loathed by some critics, it is an annual snapshot of the kind of society we are, and who our heroes might be.
December 1972: Billy Miargu, with his daughter Linda on his arm, and his wife Daphnie Baljur. In the background, the newly painted kangaroo. Photograph by George Chaloupka, now in Parks Australia's Archive at Bowali.

‘Our dad’s painting is hiding, in secret place’: how Aboriginal rock art can live on even when gone

How does rock art matter? New research finds it can act as a kind of intergenerational media –even when no longer visible to the eye.
Gordon Bennett Australia 1955-2014 Home Decor (Algebra) Ocean 1998 Synthetic polymer paint on linen / Two parts: 182 x 182cm (each); 182.5 x 365cm (overall) © The Estate of Gordon Bennett. Gift of The Hon. Paul Guest OAM QC under the Cultural Gifts Program 2018. Collection: Bendigo Art Gallery

‘One of the most important Australian artists of the late 20th century’: Gordon Bennett’s Unfinished Business

A major survey of Gordon Bennett's work showcases a dizzying blend of styles and themes.
‘Isolated Grave and Camouflage, Vimy Ridge,’ by Mary Riter Hamilton, May 1919, oil on wove paper. (Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1988-180-223, Copy negative C-141851)

Remembrance Day: How a Canadian painter broke boundaries on the First World War battlefields

After Canadian painter Mary Riter Hamilton was rejected for service as a war artist because she was a woman, she trekked battlefields to create more than 320 works that recall the missing soldiers.
‘Portrait of a Woman of the Hofer Family,’ Swabian artist, c. 1470, and a picture showing a fly on U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence during the Oct. 7 debate at University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (Wikimedia Commons/AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Mike Pence’s fly: From Renaissance portraits to Salvador Dalí, artists used flies to make a point about appearances

Flies have long held symbolic meaning in the history of art. In portraits made in Renaissance Europe, the presence of a fly symbolizes the transience of human life.
Archibald Prize 2020 finalist Blak Douglas (aka Adam Hill), Writing in the sand, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 250 x 250 cm © the artist. Photo: AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins Sitter: Dujuan Hoosen - documentary star ('In my blood it runs')

‘The most refreshing Archibald exhibition I can remember’: the 2020 portrait prize finalists

Most years, the Archibald exhibition is worth viewing as an amusing exercise in social history. This year it is worth seeing for the art.
Oliger Merko, ‘Season of Love’ detail, oil on canvas, 2014. Prison Creative Arts Project

What we can learn about isolation from prison artists

In a system that treats people as objects to be counted, chained, searched and assigned a number, art is a way for prisoners to reassert their agency – and reclaim their lives.

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