Murakami’s My Lonesome Cowboy
Murakami’s iconic sculptural work, My Lonesome Cowboy (1998) takes its name from Andy Warhol’s homoerotic film, and is representative of the layered and complex relations between Japanese and American culture after World War II. In it we see the iconic American symbol of masculinity adapted and reproduced in the form of Japanese Otaku – a kind of popular culture that explores the sexuality of characters in anime. This amalgamation of respective cultures and characters is indicative of Murakami’s formative years, characterised by a relatively traditional Japanese upbringing and later exposure to popular western culture.
Mingarri: The Little Olgas (1984-1988)
Marea Gazzard, Mingarri: The Little Olgas (1984-1988), Executive Court, Parliament House, Canberra.
Mingarri is a homage to the enduring nature of mountains in the landscape.
Marea Gazzard draws on her fascination with The Olgas – a monolithic rock formation in central Australia – and on her observations that they appear as small hills when viewed from a distance, but as monumental boulders when nearby. The bronze forms convey the strength of these ancient rocks, which contrasts with the fragility of human life, while their simplicity exemplifies a timelessness characteristic of Marea Gazzard’s sculpture.
Mingarri represents a connection to the country’s traditional heart and acknowledges the spiritual significance of the landscape to Aboriginal culture.
Artist Rethinks Nation’s Mythical Heroes
Dianne Jones, Shearing the Rams, 2001
Photo media artist Dianne Jones creates a space for Australia’s National identity to be reconsidered. Shearing the Rams (2001) reappropriates Tom Roberts’s 1890 painting of the same title, introducing new perspectives on personal and collective identity. The painting represents Jones’ memory of the shearing shed that was dominated by her shearer grandfather. By reinstating her grandfather, brother and nephew in Roberts’ work, Jones challenges presumptions of what it means to be Aboriginal, Australian, and Nationalistic.
Was J.M.W. Turner’s Artwork a Source of Inspiration for Impressionist Artists?
According to Huge Estenssoro, Monet, who saw Joseph Mallord William Turner’s artwork when visiting London in 1870, did not like the ‘exuberant romanticism’ of the English painter. Despite this, Monet’s Impression Sunrise has clear resemblances to Turner’s work, especially A Town on a River Sunset (1833) and the watercolours of Venice in 1819. Whether or not Turner’s paintings were inspiration for impression artists, it can be stated that, as John Ruskin said, ‘Turner was the first modern painter, regarding to the use of paint as an aim on itself.’
The price of war, the pricelessness of peace
The Price of War exhibition held at Chinalink Gallery, 107 Regent St, Redfern aims to promote cultural tolerance and world peace. It features the recent work of nine prominent Australian and Chinese artists, including three Archibald Prize finalists. Bringing together paintings, installations and video art, the exhibition looks closely at the destructive power of war and the suffering it causes. Though the exhibition emphasizes oriental perspectives, it sends to all Australians a searing and urgent message of the artists’ deep sympathy for the past, thought-provoking concern for the future and the pursuit of a mutual recognition for cultural identity.
Mabel Pye’s use of colour linocut printing
Mabel Pye was an innovative printmaker working in Melbourne in the 1930s. Her work in the medium of linocut demonstrates bold lines, strong vibrant colours and conveys a sense of calmness and tranquillity. Her primary composition revolved around the domestic sphere and Australian landscape. Pye studied at the National Gallery School in Victoria, working with artists such as Napier Waller.
The early twentieth century Australian printmaking movement marked the transition for printmakers to be regarded as artists in their own right. Although Pye’s work was largely forgotten until the 1970s, she is now considered, along with Margaret Preston, Thea Proctor and Ethel Spowers to be one of the significant figures in Australian modernism.
Liu Zhuoquan: Where Are You? (2012)
Liu Zhuoquan, Where are you? You know more secrets! 2012
The Chinese artist Liu Zhuoquan is a master of neihua – a kind of Chinese folk art that was used to decorate the inside of snuff bottles in the 19th century.
The installation in the Biennale of Sydney is made up of a large number of inner painted glass bottles painted with detailed images of a giant coiled black snake. A sense of depression, darkness and mystery is communicated by these intense, but organised daily objects. Liu makes his own way in describing a brand new world with bottles in various sizes and shapes.