Arts writing

  • Dionisia Salas – Rules of Engagement | (13 November, 2018) - “The accessibility and flexibility of printmaking Salas demonstrates in her work is deeply appealing. After all, these are traits that can be easily forgotten in certain tracts of the field. For the painter, print processes provide discipline and an order of operation–all welcome boundaries to push within. At every point, Salas’ careful and calculated image […]
  • American Daydream – Samuel Townsend | (24 August, 2018) - Artist, performer and writer Samuel Townsend is a longtime friend and collaborator who seems to excel at whatever they put their mind to and creative energies toward. Photography has been core to Samuel’s artistic practice for many years, and it meant a lot to me to be asked to write for this latest body of […]
  • Alison Alder – World’s Fuct | (25 April, 2017) - Alison Alder phoned me out of the blue last winter, and asked if I’d write a profile on her practice for UK-based magazine Printmaking Today. The fact that of all the writers in the world she’d called me is completely telling of her generous approach to creative collaboration, and hell, probably even life in general. […]
  • Find Your Own View – Kate Stevens | (18 September, 2016) - I’ve been watching Kate Stevens‘ latest body of work unfold – simultaneously bold and vulnerable, but lush all the way. The paintings that make up her new exhibition Sky Blue Sky follow on from a series of languid watercolour drawings I fell in love with last year, so I relished being able to spend some time […]
  • Grant Writing For Artists – Advice and Musings | (10 October, 2015) - Last week I was at This Is Not Art presenting a session on grant-writing for artists for the Crack Theatre Festival. I promised a bunch of you (and myself) that I would share my notes here, and I’ve come good. I’ll preface this the way I did at the session – arts funding is contentious […]
  • Lizzie Hall – Shelter Object | (9 September, 2015) - Relocating to Braidwood, I’ve been slowly getting more acquainted with some of the artists working in the region (and there are A LOT). Most recently I’ve been getting to know the work of Lizzie Hall, and following the development of her exhibition Shelter Object which opens at Canberra Contemporary Art Space Manuka next week. Here’s a piece I wrote […]
  • The Tyranny of Geography | (22 July, 2015) - I currently work for an internationally-renowned arts company, on concurrent projects scattered around the country. On any one day I might speak to someone in Adelaide, Karratha, Alice Springs, Hobart, or Sydney or Melbourne or the USA or UK, all from my laptop in the tiny study of my home. I feel that I am […]
  • Thinking About Galore | (16 June, 2014) - I haven’t written about a film before. Partly because I don’t see a great many, and many of those I do can be the kind so ridiculous they leave my mind at the exit of the cinema, if not earlier. Empty calories for the brain. But here we are, and here I go. Thursday I went […]
  • Everywhere, All of the Time: I ❤ Television at M16 Artspace | (15 January, 2014) - While I was studying at the ANU School of Art in the early 2000s the photomedia department was going from strength to strength. And many of the graduates are still going strong. I Heart Television gets some of the band back together to kick off the year with a killer show at M16 Artspace. Belle […]
  • Good girl, George. | (11 October, 2013) - It seems like an eternity ago now that I first wrote about George Rose’s work. I had stumbled across a zine that caught and held my attention – I knew nothing of its maker. But I tracked her down and the rest is history. I worked on three You Are Here festivals with George, as […]
  • Pure Painting – Skye Jefferys | (25 August, 2013) - Painting – and/or painters – may be one of my all time favourite things to write about, and it’s a medium that I carry on about a great deal on this blog. Skye Jefferys is a painter’s painter, and one that Canberra has recently had the fortune to adopt. Last month I had the pleasure […]
  • ANCA Now | (20 April, 2013) - Yesterday’s ANCA Now! Symposium was a great event, the likes of which I’d love to see more of. As an artistic community so accustomed to thinking about the local landscape as an overwhelming whole it was a rare and great opportunity to focus on one particular aspect – in this case of course the 21-year-old […]
  • Julia Boyd – What’s Not There | (7 April, 2013) - It seems an age ago now that I first came across the work of Julia Boyd – while I was trespassing in the halls of the photomedia department at the ANU School of Art – and included her work in my first ever curatorial undertaking Borderlife. In those four years Boyd has been everywhere, and […]
  • Lee Grant – Belco Pride | (29 September, 2012) - …When I first began to go to Belconnen it always felt like Summer. The grass seemed always burnt and weakly green, the air shimmered, affording the outlaying hills with an almost tender haze. It was cool inside those 70s brick houses, but sweaty inside strange beds. Warm beers would condensate aside cold backyard pools, car […]
  • Gregory Hodge – Magazine Mystics | (18 August, 2012) - When it comes to the excellently conceived and curated group exhibitions, Canberra Museum and Gallery has outdone itself of late, demonstrating the institution’s essential role in an arts landscape that its larger cousins would like to think they dominate. This time around, it’s Mark Bayly at the curatorial helm for Word of Mouth – Encounters […]
  • Jacqueline Bradley – Soft Mechanics | (10 May, 2012) - Late last year I was invited by incredibly hard-working local artist Jacqueline Bradley to write about her practice. I jumped at the chance – I’ve always been interested in Bradley’s work but have never had much opportunity to speak to her about it in depth. Besides this, I also knew I would get to visit […]
  • New Work: Fiona Veikkanen in Material World | (6 April, 2012) - Yesterday I trundled over to ANCA to catch current exhibition Material World. Curated by Martine Peters and Narelle Phillips, the small group show features locals Ampersand Duck, Ruth Hingston, Tony Steel and Fiona Veikkanen alongside interstaters Tracey Deep, Mandy Gunn, Ro Murray and Flossie Peitsch. The show was touted as “an exhibition of site specific installations in […]
  • Petite Public Art | (3 April, 2012) - I really, really miss the Domain project. It got artists out in the open (literally), it pushed them to try something new, it challenged the notions of what ‘art’ (and furthermore ‘public art’) should be/is, it caught audiences unaware, everyone had a helluva lot of fun and got to go to the pub after. When […]
  • Artists: How To Stop Worrying and Instead Learn To Write | (22 November, 2011) - The tail-end of the year always seems to be a time when some of the best little events manifest, and 2011 is no different. On Monday evening I was invited to speak at a workshop session – ‘Writing About Art For Artists’, an event pulled together by local artists Jacqueline Bradley and Bettina Hill. The […]
  • Pagan Pop | (13 October, 2011) -
  • We Were There | (19 September, 2011) - I must admit, We Are Here caught my eye primarily due to the title’s uncomfortable similarity to a certain large-scale project I’ve been working on for the past twelve months. I read about it because I was annoyed, I decided to go because it looked really good. A symposium/conference of sorts for artist-run initiatives (ARIs) […]
  • So You Wanna Be A Freelancer | (15 September, 2011) - It was this time last year I left full time work and went out on my own. Reading what I wrote back then you will note I truly believed I would have more time for my blog. Hilarious. But I really had no way of knowing what was coming, and that September 2010 to September 2011 […]
  • What Goes On Tour | (3 August, 2011) - How’s this for a mouthful: “Tour de Force is a project developed by artisan and Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, curated by Megan Bottari and toured by Museums and Gallery Services Queensland. The exhibition tour is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian […]
  • On The Digital Front Line – Connect Arts | (27 July, 2011) - Last night I fronted up to Connecting:// Arts Audiences Online – a forum presented by the Australia Council for the Arts, a roadshow that’s been touring the nation, of which Canberra was the final leg. As I arrived an art-world colleague asked me why I had come, and I had to reply honestly: ‘because it […]
  • Crushin’ | (21 July, 2011) - The Here & There collective seem pretty well unstoppable, but with tireless energy and an apparently inexhaustible flow of good ideas, why would anyone want them to? Fresh from turning everyone’s favourite local coffee hole (Lonsdale Street Roasters) into a cracked Winter wonderland for Cold Sweats, Here & There’s next tour of duty is Crush, which opened […]
  • Fiona Veikkanen – The Warmth Within | (13 July, 2011) - When speaking about her solo exhibition Warmth and Welcome, Fiona Veikkanen refers to the particular ‘something’ that inhabits handmade objects, carried by the indelible mark of their maker. While this is certainly an undercurrent throughout the exhibition, and something I take from any labour-intensive art work, I see Warmth and Welcome as more of an […]
  • On Why I Love Paint | (3 July, 2011) - Way way back in October last year the ANU School of Art  ran a three day symposium on abstract painting. Collectively, the symposium and its associated exhibitions were called This Way Up. And I couldn’t have been happier. Y’see, for readers who don’t know me (??) paint is my achilles heel. It’s an attraction that […]
  • Wonderwall | (15 June, 2011) - This time last week I braved the bitter cold to check out Pin – Wonderwall at ANCA. I was not alone. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen that little place so crammed and going off. It might have had something to do with there being 70 artists in the show, all of them from […]
  • Art Is Hard – Robbie Karmel | (12 May, 2011) - One of the most common misconceptions about art making is that for artists it is ‘easy’ or comes naturally. Many practitioners will in fact attest that nothing could be further from the truth, and certainly, during my short-lived career as a painter, the art making process was less impassioned frenzy and more blood from stone. […]
  • Got Hitched | (3 May, 2011) - Find a space, make things happen. For a small show that was only up for two-and-a-bit days Double Hitch really made an impression on me and many other folk in the scene. Check out the lovely lines Annika Harding wrote about it on her site The Write Art and add her to your list of […]
  • They Met At Insomniacs Anonymous… | (1 May, 2011) - …they fell in love. They sleep together every night.” Chris Carmody – on show as part of Double Hitch, along with Tim Dwyer, Luke Penders, Bettina Hill, Fiona Veikkanen, Poppy Malik, Adam Veikkanen and Hannah Bath at the O’Connor Scout Hall until 5pm today.
  • The Ballets Russes, or, Why You Should Give A Crap About A Box Of Old Clothes | (29 April, 2011) - Go and see the Ballets Russes exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia this weekend. I say this now as it is probably as far as my lazier readers will make it. (I’m not judging, mind, being guilty of the very same elsewhere on the internet.) You’re probably thinking: “yeah but it’s like $20 to […]
  • Money For Nothing | (28 April, 2011) - Free money! Get your free money! ‘What’s that?’ you say. Why, the ArtsACT 2012 arts fund is now open silly. Official announcement from the ArtsACT website: The ACT Arts Fund is one of the main ways the ACT Government provides direct support to the arts.  Each year, applications are invited from all artists, groups and […]
  • Yield – Cinnamon Lee & Christine Cholewa | (27 April, 2011) - Covert Jewels by Sydney’s Cinnamon Lee and Machine In the Garden by South Australian artist Christine Cholewa are two exhibitions  currently showing at CraftACT Craft and Design Centre. I was commissioned to write the catalogue essay for the shows, and CraftACT are always a pleasure to work with! Check out the shows before they finish […]
  • The Awful Truth About Freelancing | (20 April, 2011) - Recently I bought groceries on credit. It was a pivotal moment, and as I swiped that plastic I experience a flash forward montage detailing the beginning of the end. I’d always scoffed about people shopping on credit, never thinking for a second that I’d be doing the very same. But only recently I’d taken a […]
  • Home Fires – Blaze 5 | (16 February, 2011) - Just as the ANU School of Art Grad Show symbolically closes the end of the art year in Canberra, Blaze, the Canberra Contemporary Art Space’s emerging artist showcase, begins a new one. Pretty well all of Canberra’s best art exports have exhibited in one of these over the last five years, so it’s the way […]
  • Digital Ether – Dan Lorrimer | (15 February, 2011) - Sculptor Dan Lorrimer recently held his debut solo show at CCAS Manuka, curated by Vanessa Wright. I wrote the following review for the latest issue of BMA, but the exhibition has closed now. I’m terribly sorry to rub salt in your wounds. The tumultuous twelve months that follow graduation from art school are a time […]
  • Art Madness | (8 February, 2011) - Goddam what has gotten into this city?! Proactive, productive…it’s sickening (don’t change). The latest art madness off the ranks is this sprawling two-day affair, based out of the Phoenix – artsy haunt since year dot. Said affair is as much hyped for its name as its lineup, titled as it is ‘Hey dad can you […]
  • Aussieaussieaussie | (3 February, 2011) - Wish I’d found this Bernie Slater classic in time for Jan 26th…
  • Horse. Herring. | (1 February, 2011) - The Red Herring Cafe is a new venue, exhibition space, lounge and, well, cafe nestled in the city centre. It’s pretty darn comfy and cute and if you haven’t yet checked it out I recommend you head there right away. But if you’re one of those folk who need an excuse then this Saturday night (Feb […]
  • The Public Art Prophetic | (23 January, 2011) - Stolen from the CCAS Social Pages: an amazing image from the Queensland floods, showing an astoundingly prophetic public artwork by text/art king Richard Tipping.
  • Art Vs. The Man | (13 January, 2011) - December 2010: we all discover there is a mysterious, cavernous and unoccupied auditorium space on the rooftop of a Canberra CBD building. Before we know it the space is proffered to students from the ANU School of Art to do as they will, and a night of artwork, bands and hijinx ensues in the form […]
  • Playing Favourites | (15 December, 2010) - There’s nothing like a good list to end the year. Here’s my top ten for 2010 – not just exhibitions or artists but also a few ‘things that happened that were pretty great’ in no particular order. Obviously it’s not exhaustive, but in the interests of not exhausting you, dear reader, we’ll keep it to […]
  • Pictures & Words | (30 November, 2010) - I’ve always loved words, and subsequently art with text. I’m pretty much mad for it. It makes sense then that I should be interested in zines, but the truth is I’m relatively new to the zine universe and am finding its breadth and scope a little overwhelming. But I’m chipping away at the iceberg, taking […]
  • Jessica Herrington – The Alchemist | (12 November, 2010) - Overheard at the opening of Cave: ‘It’s all a bit hippy trippy, isn’t it.’ A quick scan of the exhibition: crystals, glitter, stone circles and an actual cave, complete with fog. Yes. Yes it is. But there’s a lot more going on here. Cave is Jessica Herrington’s exercise in artifice – a wickedly gleeful tour through poetics […]
  • Alexander Boynes – The Light Fantastic | (15 September, 2010) - A note to all Perth readers (Hi Ben!): Genre-mashing Canberran artist Alexander Boynes unveils his solo exhibition Black Light this coming Friday at Linton & Kay Contemporary in Subiaco. Boynes combines a painterly approach with photographic detail, printerly process with rebellious abandon, technical edge with seductive atmosphere and two-forty volts. Perspex sheets are etched, painted […]
  • Love of Letters | (14 September, 2010) - Letters, the second instalment of nomadic ARI Here and There, took place last Friday complete with cosy fire, a giant pot of soup, beautiful people and beer a plenty. Hospitality at its best, no small thanks to hosts Kalina and Brendan (your living room made an amazing gallery!) Text in art is a particular fondness of […]
  • Hijacked / High Calibre | (10 September, 2010) - Photographers: quit fiddling with your tumblr and get thee to the School of Art Gallery. Hijacked 2: Germany and Australia, which opened on Wednesday evening, has descended on this town with little fanfare yet boasts a staggeringly good collection of photomedia artists. Just for starters some of the Aussie photographers assembled for the show are […]
  • Here and There. Then and Now. | (8 September, 2010) - Local art collaborative Here and There are going their own way. Tackling ongoing issues of space availability in Canberra the Here and There crew have turned to the humble home as a venue for their DIY exhibitions. The inaugural exhibition Not Yet featured Helen Braund, Daniel Edwards and Jennifer Edmunds, and now they present Poppy […]
  • Heads Up – National Gallery of Australia | (7 September, 2010) - Further to yesterday’s post about branding misadventures – it’s the day we thought would never come!!  From the NGA website: The National Gallery of Australia today confirmed that its “New Look” Stage One Building Project will open to the public on Friday, 1 October 2010. The redevelopment is the biggest transformation of the Gallery since […]
  • Good Logo Gone Bad | (6 September, 2010) - I’m lookin’ at you National Gallery of Australia. Okay, so I don’t profess to know much about design, but I have to say I was pretty gobsmacked when this popped up on their website the other day: Yep. That bit on the left is meant to read NGA. But as my co-worker said in all […]
  • Autumnal Collective | (3 September, 2010) - For whatever reason I decided from the outset that this blog was going to be dedicated only to visual art in Canberra. As I write this I realise I’m not even sure what ‘visual art’ really means, but rules and categories make the world and a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. […]
  • Canberra Low Life In Brisbane | (2 September, 2010) - If the Canberra-centric artwork in my previous post (courtesy of one Lee Grant) struck your fancy then this might do it for you too: Canberra Contemporary Art Space Director David Broker is exercising his curatorial prowess with his new exhibition Canberra: Low Life. This expose of the city and people that exist behind the public […]
  • Straight Outta Canberra – Lee Grant | (24 August, 2010) - Where has Lee Grant been all my life? This Canberran photographer is my latest art crush, and it’s serious. Grant recently completed a Masters from the ANU School of Art and I can’t believe I missed her graduate exhibition. Art fail of the year. She triumphs in that special brand of social documentary photography that […]
  • Simon Maberley – The View From Here | (23 August, 2010) - All art is experimental. For the painter at an easel, for a potter at the wheel; in the bold leap from idea to physical form there is an element of chance, the constant hope of giving shape to a burning concept and the ever-present possibility that the vision may not be realised. Over the last […]
  • M16 Artspace – Le Grand Tour | (18 August, 2010) - It’s opening week at the new M16 Artspace, and stress is hanging in the air. The drill is whirring in the gallery, while workmen scurry about, putting the finishing touches on the building before Friday’s grand opening. M16 Director Joseph Falsone and Exhibition Manager Janice Kuczkowski are worn thin, having been plowing through 60-hour weeks […]
  • Weekend Reading: The Loxton Report | (12 August, 2010) - The ‘Loxton Report’  is now available to the public for comment. The report is an ACT government commissioned review of the state of the arts in Canberra, and was begun in September last year by Peter Loxton & Associates. The whopping great document can now be downloaded and submissions by the public are invited. To link to […]
  • Hello Gorgeous – The New M16 Artspace | (10 August, 2010) - This Friday the 13th. 6pm. M16 Artspace opens at its new home in Griffith. The cynics among us thought it would never happen, but after a tour of the new facilities I can tell you the complex of galleries, artist studios and workshops surpasses all of my expectations and I should eat my hat. It’s […]
  • I went to the 17th Biennale of Sydney and all I got was this chip on my shoulder. | (6 August, 2010) - I had hoped that a trip to the 17th Biennale of Sydney would have left me a wiser person, rejuvenated and aching to get back to work after a hefty dose of art inspiration. Instead, after three days diligently making my way through the program, I was on the coach home with sore feet and […]
  • Something In The Air @ Iconophilia | (23 July, 2010) - Last month I went along to the opening of Something In the Air – Collage and Assemblage In Canberra Region Art at the Canberra Museum and Gallery. I had seriously high expectations, but can gladly say these were met and exceeded. I really need to make a few more visits before I feel I have […]
  • Leah Bullen – Lay It On Thick | (22 July, 2010) - Holed up painting in Armidale, Leah Bullen scaled back the size of her work and began using masonite boards as a ground. When she did, everything clicked. A few years ago the Canberra-based Bullen turned to imagery from the media – newspapers, television broadcasts – as subject matter for her painting practice. Shutterbug, currently showing […]
  • Simon Maberley – Memento Mori | (21 July, 2010) - Simon Maberley has been a significant player in the Canberra glass scene for many years now, but his recent projects are revealing him to be an auspicious all-rounder who punches well above his weight. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Maberley’s work does not obsess over its materiality. Here, glass is the means to an end, […]
  • Painting In The Third Dimension | (21 June, 2010) - Emma Beer, Jessica Herrington and Natalie Mather are three emerging painters who, although having distinctly different styles and approaches, share a love for all that is raw, messy, and often less than pretty. Capitalising on this common ground the three Canberra artists have developed the exhibition Just A Little Bit Precious under the banner of […]
  • Keep On Shooting – Erica Hurrell | (18 June, 2010) - There are many photographers who try and do what Erica Hurrell does. The documentary tradition is a repackaging of reality that often sees aspiring photographers fall short of the mark, but a precious few are effortlessly able to combine the seductive exoticism of unseen worlds with the suffocating familiarity of common experience. Hurrell is one […]
  • Melbourne Art Safari #1: we’re not in Canberra anymore. | (11 June, 2010) - I’ve recently returned from an art safari in Melbourne, aka Struggletown aka The Ghetto. The Canberra ghetto. Moving to Melbourne is somewhat of a rite of passage for young Canberran creative types, just as young Melbourne creative types yearn for New York or Berlin. (I don’t know what’s left for people in New York and […]
  • Start your engines – Helen Shelley at CCAS | (13 May, 2010) - Only recently departed for Sydney, painter Helen Shelley returns to Canberra this month with Death Proof. Readers may recall her previous solo exhibition, Immortality With Out The Assistance of God, as one of the standout shows of 2009. Now, leaving figuration for er..dead, Shelley has thrown herself into a series of chunky psychedelic abstractions, boasting […]
  • Multiple – Richard Blackwell | (12 May, 2010) - The Canberra Grammar School Gallery (a challenging, plush red carpeted space) is currently showing Multiple – a selection of new work by local lad-about-town Richard Blackwell. Blackwell has popped up frequently since graduating from the Printmedia department of the ANU School of Art, in both solo and group exhibitions, enjoying early commercial success. He trades […]
  • Kelly Country – Sidney Nolan at the National Gallery of Australia | (11 May, 2010) - Is there anything more iconic in the world of Australian art than the solid black box of Ned Kelly’s helmet?  I am sitting in the National Gallery of Australia with Deborah Hart, Senior Curator of Australian Painting and Sculpture. We’re in the new Nolan Gallery soaking up the rich visual treats resulting from one of […]
  • Do Not Give Up | (6 May, 2010) - Being bandied about for the upcoming Biennale of Sydney, and striking a chord with me, is the manifesto of Polish artist/curator Ryszard Wasko… Poem for the rose (1981) Do not support the art of politicians or economists Do not support power manias of any kind Do not accept coercion Do not wage intrigues, battles, manipulations […]
  • All and Nothing – Adam Veikkanen at CCAS | (29 April, 2010) - “Only something so meaningless could mean so many things at once.” Muniz, Vik “the image within, Reflex, A Vik Muniz Primer,” aperture foundation, 2005, New York, pg.39 ch4. (referred to by the artist in the statement accompanying the exhibition) Artists who bemoan the limitations of shoestring budgets or the constraints of family and working life […]
  • Boys Are Back | (21 April, 2010) - Hardware, maths and arm wrestling. That’s what real men are made of. Benjamin Forster, Robbie Karmel and TJ Phillipson are a group of local artists questioning and exploring what it is to be men in their exhibition Musk at M16 Artspace. All three are well known about town for their tongue in cheek cultural appropriations and […]
  • Rachael Freeman – Elevate | (15 April, 2010) - Prolific local painter Rachael Freeman is currently on show at CCAS Manuka. Through an impressive array of new works Freeman demonstrates that her signature landscape/abstraction  hybrids are continuing to evolve, yet remain as luminously captivating as ever. In a departure from the moody ominousness of earlier series, this latest body of works feature shards of […]
  • Standing In The Sunrise – Olafur Eliasson at the MCA | (26 March, 2010) - Underwhelmed. Not a real word, I know, yet somehow – so appropriate. How can a show hyped as ‘the contemporary art event of the year’, of work by a man who is at the epicentre of one of the world’s largest artists studios, by an artist who has gargantuan books published about him, leave me […]
  • Powerhouse – The Canberra Glassworks | (25 March, 2010) - Site specific artworks, and exhibitions that exist outside of a gallery context, are fickle beasts. When they work, they are fantastic, thrilling – a revelation. The trouble is, they often don’t. This conundrum is currently being brought to light by the Canberra Glassworks, who have handed the reins to independent curator Narelle Phillips for their […]
  • Coming of Age: The 2010 National Photographic Portrait Prize | (19 March, 2010) - National Portrait Gallery Director Andrew Sayers is the first to admit that this year, in its third instalment, the National Photographic Portrait Prize (NPPP) has really come into its own. Art prizes can take a few years to hit their stride, and now, as interest and profile has increased, the entries into the NPPP have, […]
  • LMFAO – TJ Phillipson at CCAS Manuka | (12 March, 2010) - Last night TJ Phillipson unveiled his second solo exhibition in the space of four months – There Is Fire Down Below. Despite this brutal turnaround time he has managed to draw together another show of never-before seen, staggeringly well executed and searingly smart ideas. The bastard. Where his December show Semblance was brooding and streamlined, […]
  • Art School Survival Guide #6: Begin again | (5 March, 2010) - On my first day at Art School, as a terrified yet precocious 18 year old, we were given countless addresses by numerous members of staff and persons of importance. I remember none of it, save a single line: ‘Remember, you’re not here to show us what you can do. You’re here to find out what […]
  • Connected: Art Is An Open Book | (1 March, 2010) - Lucy Quinn, Bettina Hill and Benjamin Forster make a formidable, multi-talented trio. To kick off 2010 the three have forgone a flashy parading of new work in favour of a collaborative effort that is less about endings and outcomes than about examining the act of making. Connected presents the spoils of a series of kitchen-table […]
  • OMG It’s Blaze 4 | (25 February, 2010) - As I adjust the final lighting and pack away the tools I can’t resist letting you know that Blaze 4 opens tomorrow night at Canberra Contemporary Art Space Gorman House and it is looking mighty fine. For the unenlightened, Blaze is an annual show-off show case of emerging artistic talents in Canberra, and, well, it’s […]
  • Feathered Familiar: Emily Valentine at Craft ACT | (23 February, 2010) - Emily Valentine’s Flying Flings is first exhibition at Craft ACT Craft & Design Centre for 2010 and truly out of the ordinary. The lovely folk at Craft invited me to write the essay for the show – have a look below to see if it perks your interest. If so, get along and see it for […]
  • Postcard from Canberra | (17 January, 2010) - Ah Canberra in the Summertime. Such a strange phenomenon. The locals leave – hurtling down the Clyde, everything is closed, and the hot dry wind is left to buffet around the city by itself like an insolent teenager. I am as guilty as the next local of this seasonal abandonment, but drawing me back home […]
  • This Is Not A Portrait – TJ Phillipson at Photoaccess | (18 December, 2009) - Just when I think 2009 has drawn to an artistic close, Photoaccess makes a last minute dash with one of the best exhibitions I have seen all year. Semblance is a suite of new photographic works by recent ANU graduate TJ Phillipson, who forgoes technological bells and whistles for the simple assuredness of studio photography […]
  • Psychodrama – Nicholas Folland at CCAS | (9 December, 2009) - What do you get when you take a toilet, a shower, an bathtub and a sink and add two thousand litres of water? A cracking great art installation, that’s what. The indomitable Nicholas Folland has descended onto Canberra with his own brand of melodrama and tragic beauty. His new installation without reason opens at Canberra […]
  • Preview: ANU School of Art Graduates 2009 | (4 December, 2009) - On Wednesday I scooted off to Patron’s Day at the ANU School of Art in honour of the 2009 Graduate Exhibition. I look forward to each year’s grad show in pretty much the same way as kids look forward to Christmas. The quality of artwork here is often the best you will find anywhere, made by […]
  • When Exhibition Titles Attack! | (28 November, 2009) - As the silly season descends on us, and I begin to suffer from cultural exhaustion (when you have had it up to the eyeballs with art, theatre, music, dance and pretty much anything credible and creative, and just want to vegetate on the couch reading Who Weekly and watching Neighbours), Uselesslines becomes notably less informative […]
  • Art School Survival Guide #5: Taking the ‘ass’ out of ‘assessment’ | (19 November, 2009) - Here it is, that time of the year when students everywhere are freaking the hell out. Art school assessment is a cruel and unusual beast. It may take varying forms at different institutions, including, but not limited to: displaying your artwork, writing about your artwork, speaking about your work and responding to a barrage of […]
  • Legacy Lost: Sidney Nolan and Lanyon | (8 November, 2009) - Here at Uselesslines the year of Sidney Nolan continues… Once upon a time, in the outskirts of Canberra, a new gallery was built in the heritage grounds of Lanyon. It was the Nolan Gallery – opened by the man himself, after he donated a large collection of his early paintings to the Australian People. The […]
  • Au revoir Owen! | (26 October, 2009) - Canberra is about to give up one of its best and most interesting young artists to the bright lights of Sydney. He has resisted as long as possible, but now Owen Lewis is making the move. Goodbye Owen we will miss you! To bid him adieu, I thought I would revisit a work from his […]
  • Exhibition Opening Etiquette | (22 October, 2009) - Let’s admit it, some of us are pretty sloppy when it comes to conducting ourselves at exhibition openings. Whether you’re new to the art world, or an old hand who’s gotten a little lazy, there’s no time like Spring to brush up on some exhibition opening etiquette: Proximity to Artwork As soon as you step […]
  • BYO Public Art | (8 October, 2009) - Public art. It’s so tedious. Not so much the artworks themselves, but the circus that surrounds them. Any mention of public art in Canberra is met with much beating of the breast and tearing of the hair. Taxpayers sob about their hard-earned dollars lost, politicians jump into the fray, and all of a sudden some […]
  • Obey: Shepard Fairey Posters | (28 September, 2009) - When National Portrait Gallery Curator Michael Desmond first saw Shepard Fairey’s now famous Obama ‘Hope’ poster he was caught between two emotions. Excitement that the mainstream exposure of Fairey’s work would make it easier to successfully mount an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, and a tinge of sadness that one of his favourite artists […]
  • Melbourne Art Safari | (23 September, 2009) - Still twitching from the drastic increase in coffee consumption, Uselesslines is back, fresh (ha!) from galavanting around old Melbourne town. While the trip was not entirely devoted to the cause, I did get to take in a fair few artistic sights over the weekend, as follows… Gemma Smith- Entanglement Factor at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces: […]
  • Half Life: Helen Shelley | (14 September, 2009) - Helen Shelley leaves other figurative painters for dead. In her latest exhibition Immortality Without the Assistance of God Shelley presents us with a brooding suite of half-portraits. I say half-portraits because in each of these the subject is presented eyes closed, presumably mimicking death, perhaps sleep, pain or pleasure, or an unspecified combination of all. If […]
  • Is Design Art? | (14 September, 2009) - Lately I have been pondering the relationship between design – such as object design, fashion design and architecture – and plain old straight up art for art’s sake. Last week’s opening of Portraits & Architecture at the National Portrait Gallery pushed this dormant concern back into the forefront of my mind. Are art and design […]
  • Clare Thackway – Broken Hearted Attack | (9 September, 2009) - Fellow ANU School of Art alumnus Clare Thackway is currently exhibiting recent works in Broken Hearted Attack, on show at Blindside in Melbourne. Thackway is an artist of formidable talent and her readiness to explore personal worlds in her painting results in works that are thoroughly engaging and devastatingly beautiful. I was thrilled when Clare […]
  • Eden Waugh & How To Know You Want a Work of Art | (28 August, 2009) - After a day of rigorous installation for Borderlife (see previous self-promotional post) I hardly felt like attending a Tuesday night exhibition opening. (Well actually a closing, but all the same really.) But I dragged my sorry self over to Craft ACT Craft and Design Centre for drinks to celebrate the exhibition Epidemic – containing the […]
  • Borderlife | (24 August, 2009) -   My debut curatorial effort, Borderlife, opens this coming Friday evening (August 28) at Canberra Contemporary Art Space. The show contains work by r e a, Julia Boyd, Rachael Freeman, Rose Montebello and Tess Stewart-Moore, and I hope that no one will be able to tell that I’ve never done this before. Hm. To get […]
  • The Colour and the Shape: Tye McBride | (18 August, 2009) - Tye McBride’s debut solo exhibition pod at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space Manuka would be a formidable exhibition from any artist, let alone such a recent graduate. McBride studied painting, but, as the exhibition demonstrates, can turn her hand to just about anything she likes: 3D constructions, paint and ink on canvas and works applied […]
  • Art School Survival Guide #4: All Hail the Intern | (18 August, 2009) - To put it simply – anyone who is interested in working in a creative industry WHATSOEVER should undertake an internship. At least once. Becoming an intern at a gallery, museum or arts organisation will be one of the single most important steps you will ever take in working towards a career in the arts. I […]
  • The Year of Sidney Nolan | (11 August, 2009) - WARNING the following post contains unbridled gushing. Uselesslines apologises in advance for any nausea caused. 2009 has been the year (although it is only three quarters through) I’ve decided Sidney Nolan is my absolute favourite Australian painter of all time. (Possibly even absolute favourite Australian artist hands down, but let’s not be too hasty.) The […]

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