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Art Reviews

RUSSELL DRYSDALE Portrait of an Aboriginal Girl image
By Associate Professor Ken Wach
11 Nov 2015

Russell Drysdale was honoured with a knighthood in 1969 for services to the arts. However, this prestigious public and formal validation was preceded by many decades of private and informal admiration by artists, curators and collectors. In fact, Drysdale’s reputation grew soon after his first...

ARTHUR BOYD Landscape with Poddy image
By Marguerite Brown MA ArtCur
11 Nov 2015

As one of Australia’s greatest artists of the twentieth century, Arthur Boyd’s creative oeuvre encompasses a range of different themes and stylistic modes of expression. From symbolically charged allegorical paintings, to naturalistic landscapes that respond to Australia’s varied terrain – this...

JEAN ARP Torse Fruit image
By Associate Professor Ken Wach
11 Nov 2015

Jean Arp was a very prominent member of two of Modernism’s most perplexing art movements: Dada and Surrealism. Dada, often also called Dadaism, was less a coherent group of artists than a collective of like-minded and disaffected people whose ideas and art were propelled by an abiding disgust...

 WILLIAM ROBINSON Farmyard Scene with Goats and Cows image
By Gavin Fry
11 Nov 2015

When William Robinson was awarded the Archibald Prize in 1987, one journalist suggested that the win had succeeded in ending ‘almost 50 years of obscurity’1 for the artist. Patronising as it might have been, the statement carried a ring of truth for a great many followers of...

JEFFREY SMART Dampier III image
By Timothy Abdallah BA
11 Nov 2015

Dampier III painted in 1967 belongs to the early part of Jeffrey Smart’s maturity as an artist and the start of a long period of important and successful paintings. In many respects, the painting illustrates the artist’s position at this point in time as it draws together the various...

SIDNEY NOLAN Burke and Camel image
By Rodney James BA (Hons.), MA
11 Nov 2015

Sidney Nolan pursued vigilantly throughout his career the notion of man pitted against the extremities. Nolan was particularly interested in the stories of 19th century explorers including Edward Eyre, Ludwig Leichhardt and Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills and their...

FREDERICK McCUBBIN Spring Morning image
By Rodney James BA (Hons.), MA
11 Nov 2015

Rural labour with a nationalist ethos has been a dominant theme in Australian art and literature from the mid-nineteenth century on. The art of Frederick McCubbin was at the forefront of these investigations; his fascination with epic narrative paintings of white settlement in Australia produced...

FRED WILLIAMS Bush Road with Cootamundras image
By Associate Professor Ken Wach
11 Nov 2015

Fred Williams was always reluctant to exhibit his work. His modest temperament meant that he felt uncomfortable about baring all of what he always considered to be a private activity, born of personal convictions. One might feel the same about revealing the contents of one’s private diary.

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JOHN BRACK Adagio image
By Emeritus Professor Sasha Grishin AM FAHA
11 Nov 2015

Adagio is one of John Brack's most important and challenging paintings of the 1960s. He was seeking for a metaphor through which to express human relationships, a stage on which a man and a woman could perform. The painting was executed in 1967 and was exhibited in Canberra, Sydney and...

JEFFREY SMART Level Crossing image
By Associate Professor Ken Wach
11 Nov 2015

There is always a hidden visual power in Jeffrey Smart’s paintings. His paintings are never simple scenes that are simply rendered – always there is an organising principle. Behind the visible scene there is the invisible mind that orders. Smart’s paintings are never the record of a scene but...

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