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, and now writing fiction and memoirs (visit my other site, annette-hamilton.com, for more info) but I have also written and published about art – drawing, painting, photography. Art for me is deeply implicated in philosophical ideas and concepts.
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 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 undertook 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. It was a major mistake to paint in 20 x 20 inch square format. Squares are awful. I intend now to start the series again, still in monochrome but using other media as well as oils, in different formats and maybe on different supports.
Since 2013 I have lived mostly in the Blue Mountains, and of course I want to paint this amazing environment. But not through the tried and tested landscape route. There are brilliant local landscape artists who capture the mountains in oils far better than I could ever do – most notably John Wilson and Warwick Fuller. Stunning realist work, brilliant in colour and tonality. I admire their work enormously, but I want to keep my focus on art as a means of history and ethnography, through urban spaces, gardens, streetscapes and interiors and see what I can do with a fresh view of time and embodiment. And of course write about art when the compulsion strikes!
Annette Hamilton 2015. Rowboat, c. 1932.
Oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm.
From monochrome series The Drift 2015-16.
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: www.academia.edu/986658/Neo_Rauch_post-socialist_vision_collective_memories