The Void and the Drift

This site began as a personal exploration complementing  my formal study and practice in visual arts.  I have always been a writer – writing for a living as an academic for many years – but I have been engaged with the visual world, especially art, photography and movies, just as deeply and often more so.

I began my online art-writing career using the idea of the Void. The Void has been a powerful meme in recent philosophy.  I have described some of the ways in which the Void can be explored through contemporary art in my  prize-winning essay on the work of Anne Judell. See: Anne Judell “Void” – Review.

Although I had published several academic studies and reviews on art – especially my paper on Neo Rauch which was published in Germany and is widely cited – see below – I wanted to know what it is to paint, not just to write about painting. In 2014 and 2015 I began formal study in the Advanced Diploma in Visual Art at the Nepean Art and Design Centre. As part of my studio work I began an extended meditation on the role of time, memory and history based around my family’s house on the Hawkesbury River. I started a series of monochromes which I called The Drift. Where the Void implies an invisible depth from which creativity emerges, the Drift invites a meditation on  movement through space and time, from generation to generation. I finished up angry with most of these paintings because they did not support my vision. I have never shown them outside the student context and recently destroyed many of them. I may come back to the theme, though, and try a different approach. It was a major mistake to paint in 20 x 20 square formats. Squares are awful.

I wanted to paint the Blue Mountains, but didn’t want to go down the tried and tested landscape route. There are several brilliant landscape artists who capture the mountains in conventional oil-painting far better than I could ever do – most notably Warwick Fuller. Stunning realist work, brilliant colour and tonality, but  Instead I tried to develop a body of work exploring the contradictions of past and present in a tourist-based town. This work is still in progress.

In my painting I plan soon to revisit the Hawkesbury River, in colour this time,  and to complete the series “Scenic World”,  exploring history and memory around Katoomba and the upper Blue Mountains.

rowboat 1

Annette Hamilton 2015. Rowboat, 1932.  Oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm.  From monochrome series The Drift 2015-16.


Monks in the Mist 2
Annette Hamilton: Working Sketch, Monks in the Mist: Cliff Drive Katoomba 2014.
Waratah St half way
Working Sketch: Waratah Street Katoomba 2014


NEO RAUCH is usually identified with the Leipzig School. Rauch present an astonishing body of semi-realist highly technically detailed large-scale paintings unlike anything else in recent Western art. I have written a long essay on Neo Rauch, published in a book on Collective Creativity. The paper can be read at:

Rosa Loy and Neo Rauch in front of his work “Kalimuna” 2010
artistic couples Rauch and Loy painting
Rosa Loy (left of panel) and Neo Rauch (right of panel)  in what seems to be a Couple Collaboration: or is it the result of Photoshop? Pinned on Pinterest as”Artistic Couples”






Australian Perspectives