The much mythologised artist Ian Fairweather graced our inaugural 1963 cover, and he does so again just over 45 years later. Reconstructed by New Zealand-German artist Michael Stevenson as The gift, 2004-05, Fairweather's raft is a potent symbol of creative transmission and exchange.
To dedicate this latest issue of Art &Australia to 'influence' is not to look at a static thing but, rather, an ongoing creative dynamism. We see influences threading through time, looping back on themselves and unravelling into still unknown possibilities.
In these pages we witness the little-known outsider artists who triggered the self-destructing machines of Jean Tinguely, who in turn inspired the contemporary practice of Michael Landy. Inspiration may be cross-cultural, as Kirk Huffman discovers with his feature on Vanuatu art, or across gender as Luke Scholes documents in his essay on the new generation of women painters from the Western Desert community of Kiwirrkura.
Rex Butler and A. D. S. Donaldson's exciting extrapolation on Ian Burn that modernism wasn't so much received in Australia as gleaned or appropriated is subtly illustrated by Tracey Lock-Weir's essay on Max Meldrum. Dinah Dysart's defining interview with Daniel Thomas, meanwhile, shows the power of a singular voice to shape our understanding of art.
Vol 46 No 3 Autumn 2009
Kiwirrkura women: The shifting shape of Western Desert painting
Beneath the furious tide of contemporary Aboriginal life, the deeply-etched cultural traditions of the Western Desert shift in gentle measure. As the tension between these colliding worlds continues to intensify, so too does the evolution of Aboriginal art....
Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces and Art &Australia Emerging Writers Program
Public consciousness is often directed by the wave of discourse which surrounds a particular issue or cause. The very real spectre of climate change has generated considerable debate in the public field both at a macro and micro level. It seemed pertinent and...
Art &Australia Contemporary Art Award: Kushana Bush
Kushana Bush may be unsure about life, but her work is that of a deliberate, knowing and methodical hand. Drawing inspiration from Indian miniatures, Japanese woodblocks and, most of all, medieval illuminated manuscripts, her style is a carefully executed...
Sort of soliloquies: Ian Fairweather and abstraction
'I haven't got a style, or at least I hope not', Ian Fairweather said to a visitor, in 1968. And he may have been right; he had succeeded. Among Fairweather's notable qualities was his ability to pass through the various 'isms' of world art -...
Sacred Pigs to Picasso: Vanuatu art in the traditional and 'modern' worlds
For this essay, I am going to interpret the idea of 'influence' in its widest possible sense and attempt to look at influences relating to Vanuatu art and ritual both within and without the archipelago, historically and in the present day. In the case of the...
The sound of silence: Twentieth-century Australian tonalism
In 1940, when Basil Burdett was at the height of his aesthetic and intellectual awareness, the then Melbourne-based art critic regarded Max Meldrum's influence as more profound than that of Arthur Streeton. While today Streeton, along with Meldrum's...
Filmic vibrations:The contemporary legacy of Len Lye
Bursting to life amid the dreary black-and-white melodramas of English picture theatres, Len Lye's hand-painted film A Colour Box (1935) made quite an impression. This hugely influential New Zealander gave birth to some of the first multimedia orphans;...
Double fantasy: The artful practice of Michael Stevenson
Artist Jorg Immendorff's ill-fated Auckland residency in the 1980s, dealer Tony Shafrazi's badly-timed gallery opening in revolutionary 1970s Tehran, Ian Fairweather's near disastrous 1950s raft journey across the Timor Sea - these are some of the more...
Australianness: Daniel Thomas reflects on a lifetime spent moving art beyond the margins
Daniel Thomas has been a powerful voice in the Australian art world for more than fifty years. His ideas and opinions have shaped the attitudes of several generations of curators and visual art writers. His writings, which include fifty-eight contributions to...
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