ZHOU XIAOPING 1960 – Untitled ink, oil and synthetic polymer on rice paper laid on canvas 94.5 x 154 cm
One of the most intriguing contemporary artists to explore the complex yet rich creative and conceptual possibilities of cross-cultural collaboration is the Chinese Australian artist, Zhou Xiaoping.Having lived in Aboriginal communities over a sustained period of time and forged important working relationships with various senior artists, Zhou has developed an original art practice that brings together elements from Chinese, Western and Australian Aboriginal cultural traditions.
John Glover achieved great success as a painter in London, both as a watercolourist and oil painter, prior to emigrating to Australia in 1830 where his naturalistic depictions of the Australian light and landscape continue to be revered. His landscapes tend towards the romantic and classical, and it is his close observation of nature, based on his wide travels, which elevates his work beyond the picturesque.
Glover arguably became the most important landscape artist outside Europe, maintaining his reputation in England and forging a new following and great success in Australia. Glover’s influence continues to this day, with the John Glover Art Prize one of Australia’s most significant awards for landscape painting.
A special screening of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival entrant, D’Art is being held at Cinema Nova, Carlton this Sunday 7th February at 11am, including a post-screening Q&A session with filmmaker Karl von Moller, along with Robert Clinch and Jeff Brown.
Intertwining exhaustive technical investigation and countless hours of fastidious hand-painting, the goal is to produce a truly unique objet d’art. The D’Art project is an amusing, uplifting and engaging film.
Listen to Zhou Xiaoping talking about his unique artistic practice on The Art Show as aired this morning on Radio National, explaining how he draws on his experience of Chinese inks and rice paper, combined with with western art concepts, including the use of oils and canvas, as well as drawing on the influence of his travels in the north of Australia, particularly Arnhem Land and his connection with Aboriginal people and culture, including the use of ochres. As Xiaoping states, his career demonstrates “cross-cultural artistic practice and brought together the influence of Chinese, Western and Aboriginal culture and art concepts. In this practical process, I realised how important cultural reconciliation and civilisational exchange are. … Looking back at my artistic creation process in Australia, I feel that I followed the path of “learning from nature” from the traditional Chinese culture that I accepted when I was young, then followed that path from China to the world of the Australian Aborigines.” The discussion starts about 1/2 hour into the program (30:36).
Sheila Hawkins is recognised for her contribution to children’s literature, particularly as an illustrator, and her strong sense of design and layout is evident in her painting. Gyspy Mother embodies an atmosphere of calm, despite the tangle of limbs and foreboding clouds, in a tightly controlled and complimentary colour palette. The monumental maternal figure is a picture of stability and dependence against the writhing child, her vertical presence contrasted against the limbs, rolling hills and clouds.
Largely self-taught, Hawkins moved to England in the early 1930s and travels in Spain inspired her first illustrated story, Pepito (1938), as well as a series of paintings depicting Catalan market scenes. Gypsy Mother was included in her 1939 exhibition at Goupil Gallery, London.
A photograph in the collection of The Australian War Memorial shows Sheila Hawkins in her Hampstead studio around 1944 with the painting Gypsy Mother on the wall behind her.
Her work is represented in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Thomas Clark painted several views around Melbourne including Red Bluff, Elwood. The area now known as Point Ormond was originally called Red Bluff in 1839 and a quarantine station was established there from 1840. Red Bluff was levelled in 1906 and used to fill in the swampy lands of Elwood.
Clark often used people in his landscapes to enhance the sense of the wonder of nature through the juxtaposition with small figures. The dis-juncture of scale is here being used to emphasise depth, with large figures in the foreground, but the smaller figures probably being significantly smaller than perhaps expected. There is an element of artistic licence in this but it is also typical of Clark’s work.
Clark is a rather elusive figure and his work is rare. He was appointed the first Drawing Master of the School of Design at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1870 – 1876 where his students included Frederick McCubbin and Tom Roberts. An exhibition at Hamilton Art Gallery in 2013 brought greater focus and attention, showcasing his rather English sensibility, reflected in his subdued palette range, thin application of paint and moist atmosphere depicted in his artworks.
We wish to acknowledge NAIDOC Week (8 – 15 November) with this year’s theme ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE. We encourage you to support and celebrate NAIDOC Week events near you. For further details go to www.naidoc.org.au
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country – a history which dates back thousands of generations. The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples. Always Was, Always Will Be. recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
In the late 1970s, Emily took up batik, along with other artists from Utopia, as a means of expressing cultural stories and designs and began painting on canvas in 1988-89. Her earlier work developed a distinctive skeletal linear formation overlaid with dots to form highly abstracted works.
Women’s Dreaming (1993) features these meandering lines to depict the bush potato dreaming (yam or Anatye) with the arcs representative of awelye, ceremonial body design, painted onto women’s breasts and chest.
The legacy of Emily’s prolific and highly successful artistic career has been significant both among Aboriginal artists and the wider community. She is widely regarded as one of the most notable Australian artists of recent times. Her paintings are held in all major museums and galleries in Australia and in significant contemporary collections internationally.
Glenalvon, Murrurundi depicts an area Jessie Scarvell painted on several occasions, the rural landscape around the picturesque mountains of the Liverpool Ranges in the Upper Hunter region of NSW. Scarvell painted en plein air and her harmonious use of colour is clear, with the muted soft purples, grey and green of the background contrasted against the brighter green, blue and touches of pink in the foreground.
The viewer’s eye is attracted by the detailed thistle foliage, echoed in the grasses across the stream, with the white sheep in-between. Textured brush marks and soft light colours give way to a stronger band of green which draws our eye back to the purple mountain range, birds wheeling in the sky amid an aura of calm in this celebration of pastoral beauty.
The painterly marks, particularly evident in the depiction of the stream and grassy bank, and the focus point of yellow flowered pasture weed are reminiscent of archetypical Australian Impressionist paintings such as Charles Conder’s Herrick’s Blossom c.1888 and Arthur Streeton’s Golden Summer, Eaglemont 1889.
Scarvell’s painting Glenalvon, Murrurundi was included in the Art Society of New South Wales annual exhibition in 1895 and illustrated in the catalogue. It appears to be in its original frame.
Scarvell exhibited regularly with the Art Society of New South Wales in the 1890s and was included in the Exhibition of Australian Art in London at the Grafton Galleries in 1898. Her career spans over a short period of perhaps six years in the 1890s, prior to her marriage.
Jessie Scarvell is represented in the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the S. H. Ervin Gallery, where an exhibition of work in 2012 brought new awareness to this female artist of the Australian Impressionist School.