Acquisitions of the Month: June 2020 – Apollo Magazine

A round-up of the best works of art to enter public collections recently

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Clarice Beckett paintings

Clarice Beckett sought the hours of dawn and dusk to paint – in part because she spent her days caring for her ageing parents, but also because, like the other painters of the Australian tonalist movement, it was then that she found ‘the charm of light and shade’ most heightened. Her moody scenes of misty Melbourne streets, or deserted beaches near her family home at Beaumaris, earned some praise during her lifetime, but Beckett was largely forgotten after her death in 1935. This group of 21 paintings has been acquired by the Art Gallery of South Australia from the collection of Rosalind Hollinrake, an art historian who has been instrumental in re-establishing Beckett’s reputation since the late 1960s.

Wet Sand, Anglesea (1929), Clarice Beckett. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA
Ghost (2015), Hew Locke

When he was seven years old, Hew Locke’s family moved from Edinburgh to Guyana – a country whose name translates as ‘the land of many waters’. Since this time, ships and boats have held a particular fascination for the artist. They appear in his work variously as symbols of global interconnectivity and trade, and of the naval dominance of former colonial powers, or as versions of the votive ships historically hung in churches to give thanks for safe passage. Ghost (2015), first displayed at the Imperial War Museum in London, presents a model Second World War battleship suspended in a display case – a floating, spectral form.

Ghost (2015), Hew Locke Photo: Richard Ash/IWM; © Hew Locke

Mauritshuis, The Hague
Portrait of Jakob Omphalius (1500–1567) (1538­–39), Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder

Ahead of their wedding in 1539, the prominent lawyer Jakob Omphalius and his fiancée Elisabeth Bellinghausen commissioned a portrait diptych from Bartholomäus Bruyn, renowned in Cologne for his rendering of lively facial expressions, expressive hand gestures, and crisp fabrics. The diptych was separated at auction in 1896; while the portrait of Elisabeth has been on display at the Mauritshuis since 1951 (on long-term loan from the Rijksmuseum), her husband’s was lost until a ‘portrait of an unknown man’ appeared on the market last year. It has been acquired by the Mauritshuis thanks to funds from the BankGiro Lottery, the Vereniging Rembrandt, and a private donor.

Left: Portrait of Jakob Omphalius (1538–39), Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder. Mauritshuis, The Hague. Right: Portrait of Elisabeth Bellinghausen (1538–39), Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Musée d’Orsay, Paris
The Green Christ (1889), Maurice Denis

Though at the forefront of the Parisian avant-garde as part of the Nabis and then the Symbolist movement, Maurice Denis wanted above all to emulate the heightened religious emotion of Renaissance painters such as Fra Angelico. The Green Christ, acquired by the Musée d’Orsay, is one of his most daring expressions of this impulse through the modernist simplification of form. With its reduced pallet of primary colours and a sparse composition dominated by the figure of Christ, this small oil-on-cardboard emanates a mysterious religious force.

The Green Christ (1889), Maurice Denis. Photo: © DR

National Gallery, London
The Drunkard, Zarauz (1910), Joaquín Sorolla

The National Gallery’s exhibition last year dedicated to Joaquín Sorolla, once described as ‘the world’s greatest living painter’, did much to lift the Spanish artist out of relative obscurity in the UK. Now, the museum has acquired its first work by Sorolla. With a sombre palette reflecting its macabre mise en scène, the virtuoso oil sketch of a drunkard was completed quickly in the Basque tavern it depicts, at around the time the artist began to contemplate his Visions of Spain cycle (1912–19) – a series of monumental paintings depicting Spanish customs and costumes.

The Drunkard, Zarauz (1910), Joaquín Sorolla. Photo: © National Gallery, London

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
Five paintings from the series A Patriot for Me (1967), Leonard Rosoman

The British authorities banned A Patriot for Me – John Osborne’s play of 1965, which included the first gay kiss on the London stage – but performances continued anyway, and Leonard Rosoman attended every evening for two weeks to sketch the scenes by candlelight. From 1967–68, he completed a series of 40 paintings and gouaches, including two major canvases depicting the play’s celebrated ‘drag ball’ scene. Combining Rosoman’s interest in the 18th-century theatrical conversation piece with the countercultural spirit of the ’60s, these works represent a key moment in the social history of the UK – by 1968, homosexuality had been partly decriminalised and censorship of the theatre abolished. Five works from the series, including the drag ball paintings, have now been allocated to Pallant House from the estate of the artist’s widow, Roxanne Wruble Rosoman, through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme.

The Drag Ball, No. 2 (1967–68), Leonard Rosoman. Photo: Dawkins Colour/John Bodkin; © The Artist’s Estate

Pompidou Centre, Paris, and Philadelphia Museum of Art
More than 660 drawings by Giuseppe Penone

Like the large-scale sculptures for which he is best known, the drawings of Giuseppe Penone consider humanity’s relationship to the natural world. The Piedmontese pioneer of Arte Povera has now donated more than 660 works on paper, spanning his career of five decades, to two museums close to his heart – the Pompidou in Paris, which staged his major retrospective in 2004, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Both institutions are planning to display the works, which include preparatory drawings for installations, documentation of interventions, artist’s books and stand-alone ‘sculptures’ on paper, in 2022.

2330 grammi (1994), Giuseppe Penone. Photo © Archivio Penone

Marina Strocchi: New York, New Work

The NT Arts Fellowships support artists to further their professional arts practice and careers within the Northern Territory, nationally and internationally. In 2019, Marina Strocchi was awarded the fellowship, allowing her to set up a studio at Trestle Art Space in Brooklyn, New York – a fruitful refuge.

Marina Strocchi, New York Taxi II, 2020, acrylic on paper, 35.5 x 28cm

‘The work that I did while I was in Brooklyn was an immediate response to the environment that I found myself in. This is my usual way of starting a new series and can be tracked in my previous work. The works respond to the built environment that is unique to New York. The sheer mass and density of the buildings, the repetition of shapes, the walls of windows, sometimes reflecting, sometimes receding and always towering over the mere mortals who inhabit them. It is the flipside of the natural environment where nature is the dominant factor,’ says Strocchi.

Marina Strocchi, The Horse, 2019, acrylic on paper, 23 x 30.5cm

‘The buildings seem to have their own characters, the stoops, the brownstones, the skyscrapers, the old apartment block butted up against tiny alleys and cobbled streets. New York’s buildings are an architectural guide to the history of the city,’ continues Strocchi who also spent time upstate in the contrasting natural environment of The Catskills, which included rural settings with barns, fences and animals. Her travels did not end there; ‘I also travelled to Washington, Baltimore, Charlottesville, Philadelphia and Kansas City in pursuit of seeing great collections of art.’

Jan Murphy Gallery
3 to 17 July 2020 (online)
Queensland

Bundaberg Art Prize returns to brighten CBD – Bundaberg Now – Bundaberg Now


Cr John Learmonth with Bundaberg Art Prize president Phil Oakley, 2019 winner Gabrielle McDonald and sponsor Mike Brennan.

The Bundaberg CBD is set to become a thriving arts hub in November with the return of the Bundaberg Art Prize.

On the back of last year’s successful event, which was held in four different venues across the Bundaberg CBD, attracting over 450 entries from 250 different artists, the event will come back for a second year.

Bundaberg Art Prize president Phil Oakley said organisers were looking forward to another great year.

“The art prize is again offering a $10,000 first prize which is open to all Australian residents, but like last year we expect to draw most of our entries from the local region,” Phil said.

“We will also have $10,000 of additional prize money, including $1000 to the best young emerging artist.”

Last year’s change of format, offering a significant first prize, was well received according to Calliope artist Margaret Worthington.

“I thought the 2019 Bundaberg Art Prize was one of the best collections of exciting and well-crafted work I have seen in regional Queensland,” Margaret said.

While there has been a delay due to COVID-19 restrictions, Phil said the time is right.

“There is a strong desire from both artists and the community to put things behind us and celebrate the arts,” Phil said.

“We feel the November timing is about right and we hope people will be more confident being out and about to attend the event.

“Last year’s Art Prize added much needed vibrancy to the CBD, with many people discovering the event by accident as they walked along Bourbong Street, which showcased Bundaberg as a thriving artistic hub.

“We are still finalising exactly where it will be held this year, but are looking to work with landlords of some of the vacant shops in the CBD.”

Last year’s winner, Bargara local Gabrielle McDonald, said she was pleased to see the Bundaberg Art Prize return.

“I was stunned by my win last year as the organisers had created an art prize equivalent to all the premium art prizes across Australia,” Gabrielle said.

“I’m really excited to see it come back for a second year.”

Council’s portfolio spokesman Cr John Learmonth said he was looking forward to the event.

“Last year’s Bundaberg Art Prize really set the standard as a top quality art prize and really showcased the Bundaberg region and our artists,” he said.

“After COVID-19 restrictions have limited so much this year it will be wonderful to see the Bundaberg CBD full of top quality art.”

One of the unique features of the Bundaberg Art Prize is the way the prize money is funded by small contributions from its thriving Business business community.

“Many sponsors are returning for a second year, but we are still looking to add a number of sponsors who can get involved for as little as $500,” Phil said.

“I would welcome the chance to talk to anyone interested and can be contacted via email: [email protected] or phone on 0438 070 420.”

The Bundaberg Art Prize will be held from 13-22 November across various CBD locations.

Decentring whiteness: ‘Wansolwara’ and the need for critical diversity

When The Sydney Morning Herald announced the five emerging culture critics chosen to receive funding through a new initiative led by the Copyright Agency and the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas in early May, we were delighted to see Art Monthly Australasia regular Chloé Wolifson named as one of these recipients. With Melbourne-based writers Bec Kavanagh (The Australian, Meanjin) and Tiarney Miekus (Art Guide Australia), and fellow Sydneysiders Jack Callil (Australian Book Review, Meanjin) and Cassie Tongue (Time Out, The Guardian), Wolifson gained access to a AU$150,000 cultural fund for the publication of arts reviews and criticism in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WA Today.

The stated aim of this fund is to introduce ‘important new voices to the landscape of arts criticism and review in Australia’ and to offer ‘new perspectives on contemporary Australian works that will spark interest, curiosity and debate in the wider community’. The five writers chosen as beneficiaries, however, while extremely talented and deserving recipients, are also notable for a certain uniformity of complexion and cultural background. Not long after their names were announced, writing for Overland, Shirley Le drew attention to this uniformity in an extended discussion of the need for greater diversity in Australian critical coverage of the arts. Other prominent public voices, including Osman Faruqi, Ruby Hamad and Michelle Law took to Twitter and Facebook to voice their surprise – the message seemed clear: ‘The monocultural face, voice and gaze of the Australian arts reviewership is here to stay.’

This erasure of difference, Le notes, ‘is one of the most persistent and ongoing conversations in the Australian arts industry’. In a report published in August 2019, Diversity Arts Australia revealed a shocking lack of culturally and linguistically diverse representation on the executive boards and award panels of our country’s arts institutions. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that these issues came to the fore in a conversation between early-career writers Mitiana Arbon, Winnie Dunn, Enoch Mailangi and Talia Smith after the opening of ‘Wansolwara: One Salt Water’ at UNSW Galleries and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, transcribed in our current issue. For Arbon and Dunn, this gathering of over 20 artists, writers, performers and filmmakers ‘connected by the Great Ocean’ foregrounded ‘the problem of negotiating our cultural identities in spaces where we’re not a majority’ and provided a valuable opportunity ‘to see Tonga spread out in a place like UNSW Galleries’. Smith, too, spoke of her ambition ‘to see myself in these places, and [for] exhibitions to start reflecting things that I know my family feel’.

The inclusion of artists without Pacific or First Nations heritage in an exhibition dedicated to the cultural networks of this region, however, prompted some critique. Echoing Le’s remarks, Dunn observed that, ‘if white artists took a step back and just let other voices in … it would change what we consider art today in this country’, while Smith explained her personal approach to issues of equity: ‘if I think I’m not the right person to tell a particular story, then I’ll pass it on … It’s about learning when you should give the mic to someone else and not just take every opportunity.’ Last week, Kavanagh and Callil demonstrated their shared commitment to this approach when they voluntarily resigned from their new roles, citing their realisation of this ‘missed opportunity to support non-white voices in arts criticism in Australia’ and asking for their share of the fund to be ‘redistributed to non-white writers’. A comparable aspiration animates ‘Wansolwara’, which Mailangi views as an opportunity to see ‘who Pasifika artists are when they’re not busy responding to whiteness or colonisation … to see Pasifika art when it’s not centring whiteness’.

As Creative Producer and General Manager, respectively, of Sweatshop Western Sydney Literacy Movement, Le and Dunn are united by their mission to accomplish this decentring of whiteness in the critical landscape of Australian arts and culture. Through projects like ‘StoryCasters’, Sweatshop has positioned itself alongside other organisations like Djed Press, Liminal, Mascara Literary Review and Peril Magazine, and as a much-needed advocate for culturally and linguistically diverse writers, musicians, podcasters and filmmakers. Yet the responsibility for ensuring diverse conversations about the arts in this country cannot be delegated entirely to organisations like these – mainstream validation is also essential, and it is here that larger organisations like the Copyright Agency and the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas can show their support. Without belittling the achievements of Callil, Kavanagh, Miekus, Tongue, Wolifson and the many other white critics across Australia, true change, writes Le ‘cannot happen unless artists of colour are supported by the rest of this industry’.

Dr Alex Burchmore, Publication Manager

Artists invited to celebrate WA’s flora… – Have a Go News

WA is gearing up for a bumper wildflower season and to celebrate the abundance of our unique flora and highlight the importance of its conservation, the York Branch of the Wildflower Society of Western Australia and York’s Gallery 152 have launched the York Botanic Art Prize

Artists from across Australia and working in any medium are invited to submit expressions of interest for the Award which has a prize pool of $8,000.  

Entries don’t need to be scientific illustrations, nor necessarily representative work – the only limitation is that the subject must reference Western Australia’s flora. 

Western Australia is renowned worldwide for its incredible diversity of plant life, with some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. Many are endemic to this land.

“This is an innovative and exciting way to encourage people to engage with and learn more about WA’s extraordinary flora and the Wildflower Society, in particular the York branch, is pleased to be able to provide funding to support this new initiative”.

Wildflower Society of WA’s President Kevin Thiele

The prize is particularly timely given that the arts and cultural sector has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, with independent artists amongst the hardest hit. 

Regional areas are also suffering. An important agricultural centre in WA’s Wheatbelt, York is the state’s oldest inland town and sits in Ballardong Noongar country on the threshold that leads to WA’s incredibly rich flora.  

York Shire president Denese Smythe said with regional areas also being severely affected, it’s also a way of bringing intrastate and hopefully, interstate, tourism back to WA when travel restrictions start to be lifted.

Finalists will be exhibited at Gallery 152 in York, Western Australia, from 31 October, 2020 – 3 January, 2021.  

The award will be judged by Professor Kingsley Dixon, Helen Turner, Gregory Pryor and Angela Stewart and the winner announced at the formal opening on Sunday, 1 November.

Entries by Expression of Interest close Sunday 12 July, 2020 11.59pm AWST.  

For more information and to apply, visit the website http://gallery152.com.au/ybap/index.php

Made/Worn: Australian Contemporary Jewellery exhibition headlines Glasshouse Port Macquarie – Camden Haven Courier

The Glasshouse Port Macquarie is returning to business with a shining showcase of contemporary jewellery, after recent COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

The national touring exhibition will feature works from 22 contemporary jewellers on show from June 30 to August 16 in Port Macquarie.

The show will explore how jewellery is made and how it is worn, the intersections between contemporary art and jewellery, and what happens when jewellery goes beyond the wearable.

Visitors will also be able to explore materials, concepts behind pieces and making processes.

An item of jewellery can be inspired by places, cities, gender identity, culture, belonging and major topics from the community such as climate change or technology.

The national tour officially began on March 26 at the Australian Design Centre in NSW before travelling to the Glasshouse.

It will then head to Artisan and Cairns Art Gallery in Queensland, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, JamFactory in South Australia, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre in Victoria and finish at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in July 2022.

JamFactory Adelaide senior curator Margaret Hancock Davis said contemporary jewellery is never about how much a piece cost.

“A design can be emotive, intellectual or simply make a powerful statement. It’s also about self-awareness and how a certain piece makes you feel about yourself and how you want the world to see you,” she said.

“Jewellery is a signifier. When it is worn it provides clues to the wearer’s identity, membership of a cultural group, interests, a rite of passage, social status or even age.

“Individual body adornment can go as far as enabling society to structure and control the behaviour of its members or allow society to celebrate with pride, in its differences.”

JEWEL EXHIBIT: Contemporary jeweller, artist, glass maker, object maker Jess Dare will be one of the artists exhibiting at the Glasshouse. Photo: Supplied/Australian Design Centre.

Jewellers include Liam Benson, Helena Bogucki, Julie Blyfield, Zoe Brand, Maree Clarke, Jess Dare, Anna Davern, Bin Dixon-Ward, Sian Edwards, Emma Fielden, Lola Greeno, Pennie Jagiello and Bridget Kennedy.

Works are also showcased from Inari Kiuru, Grace Lillian Lee, Vicki Mason, Claire McArdle, Tiffany Parbs, Blanche Tilden, Catherine Truman, Manon van Kouswijk and Zoe Veness.

What else is making news, sport?

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Floating, absorbent, expansive and free: Lynette Wallworth’s ‘Awavena’

After experiencing the work Awavena (2018) by Lynette Wallworth at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in February, I reread a pamphlet by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess published to record a lecture given at Perth’s Murdoch University several decades earlier. Naess writes of the moment when he realised the correspondence, the equivalence, of human and animal pain. He had watched the accidental death of a flea that had fallen into a drop of acid he was observing under his microscope, and witnessed the enormous silent horror of its suffering.

I wanted to return to this text after an interval of 25 years, not because Wallworth’s Awavena conveys the suffering of the natural world, or even because of the Yawanawa, who are the film’s subject, but rather because I wanted to verify – in relation to it – my recollection that Naess had indeed felt that accident to be a moment of deep insight. I was also interested to recall that period of my life in Perth when I read, all those years ago, what is now called ecophilosophy.

The week before this viewing of Awavena, the gallery hosted a ‘long-table’ event to which a range of intellectuals engaged with eco- and First Nations activism had been invited for a discussion of the issues raised by Awavena within the local context. There was, at one point, that moment, typical of conservative Perth, when the intersection of its politics and the issues of Awavena came to the fore. Sampson McCracken, the Perth spokesperson for School Strike for Climate, proposed that more determined action should be taken against a number of oil and gas companies that have their headquarters in the city. There was then that silence that I recognised so well from decades past.

Awavena is, in a sense, two films. The first is in a more straightforward documentary mode, describing the relationship of Tata and Hushahu, the older shaman and the younger shamaness-to-be, with a feminist twist. The second shorter film principally aims to convey the literally hallucinatory experience of drinking a sacred tea and witnessing the Amazon forest while entranced by the tea’s effects.

This is what most impressed me: the sensation of being in space, floating among the atomised universe of the rainforest trees, while having the sense of being disembodied, of being part of those other living beings who, whether trees, animals or other people, are just as embodied as I. As with Naess’s killing of the flea, there was a definite trans-species identification, a kind of empathy.

This sensation of being particulate, floating, absorbent, expansive and free remained with me for subsequent days, even when I would drift off to sleep. This is what they mean, I suppose, by the cliché ‘feeling part of nature’. Yet I was haunted, too, by that familiar, local, pragmatic silence.

If Wallworth would like those who have experienced the virtual and real insights ‘gifted’ to us as viewers by Tata and Hushahu to act on the experience of this art, surely we need to be able to somehow articulate and confidently confront those aspects of our present reality – mining companies, local, national and global politics, and so on – that are now obviously incommensurate with life. We need to realise that First Nations are not that flea under the microscope’s lens.

Now we are all that silent screaming flea.

John Mateer, Perth

Lynette Wallworth’s Awavena was screened as part of the Perth Festival at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from 7 February until 2 March 2020. London’s Barbican is hoping to present Awavena in early 2021.

Art Gallery re-opening this week with new exhibition – Mirage News

Central Goldfields Art Gallery is set to reopen this week with a new exhibition by renowned Australian illustrator Terry Denton.

The Many Story Treehouse Exhibition: Celebrating Terry Denton’s illustrations for the phenomenal Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton is opening to the public this Saturday 4 July.

The exhibition showcases Terry Denton’s original illustrations, sketches and layouts showing the development of crazy ideas, characters and stories for the phenomenally successful Treehouse series developed with author, Andy Griffiths.

The exhibition, from Books Illustrated, comprises original framed works along with books and story boards showing the design process. The exhibition also includes all the original illustrations for all nine titles of The Treehouse books.

Central Goldfields Shire Chief Administrator Noel Harvey said The Many Story Treehouse Exhibition is the perfect way to re-open the Gallery following its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What better way to kick off the reopening of the Gallery than by hosting an exhibition by a famed Australian illustrator.”

“The Treehouse series is an incredibly popular book series with children and young people today. I have no doubt we have a few fans of Terry Denton and Andy Griffiths here in the Central Goldfields Shire who would love to see this exhibition.”

Children visiting the Gallery are encouraged to draw their own ideas on a giant treehouse mural created by Terry Denton especially for Central Goldfields Shire which also forms part of the exhibition experience and will remain in the community.

There are free takeaway school holiday activities for kids with signed copies by Terry Denton of the Treehouse books to be won. Maryborough Regional Library and Central Goldfields Art Gallery are providing showbags to help entertain the kids these school holidays. These are available from the Library and Art Gallery.

The Many Story Treehouse Exhibition will be on display at Central Goldfields Art Gallery until 16 August 2020.

The Gallery will initially be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm with some changes in place to protect the health and wellbeing of visitors and staff.

There will be a maximum of 18 visitors at any one time at the Gallery. The Gallery is free to enter but we ask that where possible visitors book their visit online through https://events.humanitix.com/the-many-story-treehouse-exhibition

Visitors to the Gallery must adhere to the following guidelines to keep our visitors and staff safe:

Stay home if unwell.

Hygiene –hand sanitiser will be provided at our entry/exit and throughout the Gallery. We have also increased the cleaning of the Gallery to keep everyone safe.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Fabrizio Biviano: Positive Aspects of Negative Thinking

Melbourne-based artist Fabrizio Biviano’s new body of work, ‘Positive Aspects of Negative Thinking’, harnesses the immediacy of the present to celebrate the act and action of living.

Biviano’s latest series continues his self-referential approach to the still life genre as the artist reworks the conventions of Dutch still life painting to explore the contemporary currency of objects as embodiments of memory and identity. Each arrangement is amplified against tonally vacant backgrounds, soldering the viewer’s focus to the foreground; to the vibrancy of the here and now. Moments of abstraction break the surface – flicks and scrapes of paint that serve as painterly tallies of time.

Fabrizio Biviano, My teeth are sharp and my mouth is full, oil on Belgian linen, 122 x 152cm. Courtesy the artist and Arthouse Gallery, Sydney

Arthouse Gallery
30 June to 25 July 2020
Sydney

Watch a video walkthrough of the exhibition here

Celebrities set to get arty on ‘Life Drawing Live’ – SBS

Life Drawing Live is set to become Australia’s first live life drawing class, all under the guidance of two of Australia’s leading art experts. Host Rove McManus, not only a triple Gold Logie winner but an illustrator in his own right, will be joined by other famous faces who also happen to be amateur artists.

Participating in the class will be cook, TV presenter and author Adam Liaw, Australian acting royalty Claudia Karvan, actor Hunter Page-Lochard,  and comedian, actor and writer Susie Youssef.

Remembering the joy of drawing as a kid, Adam Liaw recalls that he “loved art and was always doodling or drawing comics”. Guided by his mum, he drew a lot, even winning an art prize when he was in Year 9. After a 20-year hiatus, Adam’s drawing more these days.

“Now as a father I end up drawing a little with my kids, just little sketches with them and birthday invitations.” However, the invitation to participate in Life Drawing Live was a bit confusing at first. “I didn’t really know what life drawing was! I actually laughed out loud when I found out it was nudes. I don’t know if I’ll be any good at it, but it sounds like a lot of fun!”

 

Claudia Karvan cites having children as rekindling her love of drawing, too. “I did 3 Unit Art at school and did drawing classes (using the left-hand side of my brain, no less!) I love nothing more than to sit still and draw, regardless of whether the outcome is good or bad, but unfortunately life pressures usually take priority and you find yourself neglecting these really important pleasures. So, thank you COVID-19 and Life Drawing Live for nailing me to the floor for two hours this Saturday so I can indulge in doing something I love.”

Growing up drawing superheroes and spend much of his time at art school “mastering mise en scène paintings”, Hunter Page-Lochard (Cleverman) rightly asks, “who doesn’t love a little bit of Bob Ross in the morning?” Hunter admits, “I’ve always loved imagining that I’m the next Picasso, but I know I’m probably just the next Van Gogh as I continue to live my life existentially. I may be rusty, but I’m ready to pull out my pencils and dive head-first into this mystery we call art.”

Comedian and writer Susie Youssef is“absolutely fascinated by great artists and their ability to move people with their work.” But Susie confesses to SBS that she is not a great artist. “I have sketched a sad tree in every notebook I’ve ever owned, and instead of crossing out mistakes in handwriting exercises, I used to draw a flower pot over the top of the error.” Happily, she is not letting this dampen her enthusiasm. “Even though I will be undoubtedly rubbish, I am very excited for Life Drawing Live. I promise to arrive sober, unlike my first and only other life drawing experience at my sister’s Hens Party. Sorry Tess.”

Our group of artists will be guided by Maryanne Coutts, Head of Drawing at the National Art School and award-winning artist Wendy Sharpe. After completing a series of life drawing exercises, the artists will attempt to capture a challenging final scene.

Why not join them? Dust off your pencils and charcoals, and draw along in real time. On a second screen, go to sbs.com.au/lifedrawinglive, where our Pose Cam will provide an uninterrupted stream of the life models. For the chance to see your artwork televised and analysed by the experts, share your drawings on social media using #SBSLifeDrawingLive or email them to lifedrawinglive@sbs.com.au.

 

To continue the fun, tune into SBS the following two Saturday nights, 11 and 18 July at 8.30pm, for Life Drawing UK from the BBC. Presenter and artist Josie d’Arby will be joined by some of the UK’s leading art experts and special guests.

Life Drawing Live premieres Saturday 4 July, 8.30pm on SBS and SBS On Demand. It streams live across Australia on SBS On Demand and live on SBS at 8.30pm AEST with a delay in WA, NT and SA.

More about Life Drawing Live