"While Smith has been better known to us as a landscape painter, I think we can question the division – landscape artist / portrait artist – if we shift the focus from object to process and realise that what is on offer is about a kind of intimate engagement that arises from intense looking with an open heart and senses," writes KIERAN FINNANE.
From 33 works on show in the annual Portrait of a Senior Territorian Art Award, only three could be winners. KIERAN FINNANE reports the judges' short-list of six and the many tributes paid to the late artist Iain Campbell (his last self-portrait pictured).
The home of the Central Australian Art Society (CAAS) is a relatively humble tin shed in Crispe Street in the industrial area of Alice Springs. Over the last fortnight it has brought 50 years of history into its fold: on the walls, some of the key works the society has acquired for public collection; behind the scenes, the keepers of the tradition, present day members of the society. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Pictured: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, 1977, by Shirley Downing.
Art or cunning?, a contemporary sculpture show at Watch This Space, is a pleasure to behold, like the sight of a wide deep bay or river after leaving the desert. To walk into the gallery animated by objects of intrigue, there in the space like other bodies that engage yours, to make your way around them, to feel the attraction of their forms, their varied materials, the push and pull between them, is to realise that you’ve been missing this kind of experience.
What is immediately striking is the distinctness of the works on show, particularly in relation to materials and construction. There’s a phrase in the title of one that suggests something about the artists’ processes: “Everybody can’t have thought of everything.” So they set out in search of the “song left to sing”. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.
Pictured: "There's gotta be some left to sing, everybody can't have thought of everything" Gillian Welch by Sia Cox.
Henry Smith's Slow Burn opened at Araluen last night. Smith has lived in The Centre for 16 years, exhibiting regularly both sculpture and two-dimensional work – paintings and drawings. His venture into abstraction is a new direction for him, or perhaps the next step in a decade-long direction:
“There are so many realistic paintings out there already. I challenged myself to come up with something different, a fresh point of view. Each one would start as a landscape. Then I developed a composition of shapes, textures and patterns, using different palettes, depending on the seasons. Play and chance came into it quite a bit and in some cases I reworked a piece three or four times until I felt it was strong.”
Fellow artist and author ROD MOSS shared his thoughts about the work with the opening night audience:-
Let me introduce this exhibition of Henry’s by paraphrasing something I wrote about his first show at Araluen a decade ago:
Those of us who have sought inspiration from living close to nature in Alice Springs can no longer make art reflecting its landscape without awareness of the political and spiritual connections that its indigenous custodians express in their representations. The proliferation of these has helped shape ecological debates. The great desert artists need no further endorsement. But there are those, like Henry who have sought political and spiritual connections themselves in relocating to this remarkable place.
For this landscape artist, that general statement remains pertinent. Though Henry has sought to re-invent his ‘picturing forth’ he is still himself. His interests, his curiosities, his devotions and sensibility continue on track. What might seem initially a radical change regards his approach is in essence a deepening of those intrinsic interests as he channels them into freer, more fantastic realms.
And from our archive:February 6, 2002. Henry Smith: The land is a mirror of life's struggle. Review by KIERAN FINNANE.