Portrait of Albert Namatjira

A conventional portrait — a seated half-figure painted from life — which is disrupted by the subject’s race. In mid-twentieth-century Australia, Indigenous people had rarely figured in a genre that confirmed the status of ‘elder statesman’ upon its (mainly male) subjects. William Dargie’s Portrait of Albert Namatjira 1956 has subsequently become the most identifiable image…

Ben Quilty’s ‘Sergeant P, after Afghanistan’ captures the sitter’s raw physicality

In October 2011, Ben Quilty toured with Australian troops as an official war artist for the Australian War Memorial, part of its scheme to document the experiences of Australians deployed to the frontline in Afghanistan. Quilty’s Sergeant P, after Afghanistan 2012 is a brave attempt to capture the intensity of experience felt by soldiers involved…

Vale: Milton Moon

Renowned Australian potter and educator Milton Moon AM (1926-2019) passed away in September. Born in Melbourne, Moon was introduced to clay in Brisbane through his friends Mervyn Feeney and Harry Memmott at the Sandison’s Pottery in Annerley, and began his 60-year career as a professional ceramicist. In 1959, he held his first solo exhibition of…

Shirley Macnamara: Respect, balance and belonging

Indjalandji artist Shirley Macnamara weaves the Queensland desert landscape into the very fabric of her work, creating exquisite sculptural forms and vessels from spinifex and other natural materials. Anneke Silver offers a personal reflection on the artist’s practice and explores how her works evoke both the resilience and the colours of the environment they spring…

Margaret Olley: The subject is wildflowers

Painting flowers had long been considered a feminine subject. With the examples of Marian Ellis Rowan (1848–1922) and Margaret Preston (1875 1963) behind her, Margaret Olley (1923–2011) can be seen as part of the continuing tradition. But she was more than that. Still life and interior painting were significant genres during the 1930s for both…

Jon Molvig: The power of expression

‘Jon Molvig: Maverick’, at the Queensland Art Gallery until 2 February 2020, profiles the work of an acclaimed Australian artist and charismatic teacher, whose uncompromising commitment to painting inspired a group of young artists in Brisbane. Simon Elliott spoke with some of the artist’s former students about their mentor. Visiting the exhibition? Check our related…