Traces of life

Beyond individual ability, drawing holds benefits accessible by all who are willing to see anew Every week, a group of adults varying in age and background meets at the building “Kincumber Village School of Arts” on the central coast, north of Sydney. They gather to practise the skill of life drawing: to sketch the human […]

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People looking at art

How to look at a painting

I have just been re-reading an excellent book by Justin Paton (curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of NSW), “How to look at a painting”. Near the end of the book, he gives some very useful advice in ten points, which I would like to share with you. 1. Respect the thing. 2. […]

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On art appreciation

Today, as I was remembering my dear friend, the artist Robin Norling, who died in January this year, I rediscovered the text of a wall panel that he and Jocelyn Maughan had prepared for their gallery a few years ago. I liked it so much I decided to post an edited version of it here. […]

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The desire to connect

I’ve been re-reading a book, “What Makes Us Tick?” by Hugh Mackay (Hachette, 2010). Here are a few favourite quotes from chapter 4, “The desire to connect”: “The Russian literary critic, Viktor Shklovsky, wrote that ‘art exists that one might recover the sensations of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the […]

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Art appreciation lecture, Lille

Art appreciation at the World Esperanto Congress

The program for the World Esperanto Congress in Lille has been published but, unfortunately, the “Congress Theme” sessions lack details. So, I want to announce that “Congress Theme 2” (Monday, 11:15–13:45) will include two lectures by Franz-Georg Rössler – about architecture (towers) and music – and a lecture by me. Mine will be “Art-appreciation for […]

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Unwrapping art: the basics

Enjoy art, but not sure how to approach it? Like an artwork but not sure why, or if there’s more to it? Come along to my short introductory course at the Art Gallery of NSW, Unwrapping art: the basics, over 4 Saturdays, 16 May – 6 June 2015. While art from many different times and […]

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The dangers of assumption

Many years ago, when I worked for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, I ran a travelling art service called “Onsight”*. I took art exhibitions to people for whom a visit to the Gallery would be difficult or impossible, for example, to prisons, hospitals and nursing homes. One day, I visited a nursing home […]

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Three short talks for “Art on screen”

Over the next few months I will be introducing three art-related films at Avoca Beach Picture Theatre with three different 20-minute talks on art appreciation: Monday, 2 March, 11.30am: A girl with a pearl earring and other treasures from the Mauritshuis Museum Netherlands My talk will focus on the paintings of Vermeer and other artists […]

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What makes art, ‘art’: a family tour

I create a work of ‘art’ by tipping a box of junk upside-down in an art museum. If I left it there and came back a day later, do you think it’d still be there? Why not? Who would have taken it away? No, not the director, nor the curators… but the cleaners! The cleaners […]

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