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 long engaged with the visual world as well.

I began my 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 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 square formats. Squares are awful.

Since 2013 I have lived mostly in the Blue Mountains, and of course I wanted to paint this amazing environment.  I didn’t want to go down the tried and tested landscape route. There are several brilliant 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 focus more on urban spaces, gardens, streetscapes and interiors. The challenges of traditional landscape painting remain compelling and I am also planning to revisit the Hawkesbury River using a colour palette and some new techniques.

My writing life has recently been focussed on memoirs and that will still be a priority. But I am also going to take up the brush (and pencil and charcoal and chalk) again, and see what I can do with a fresh view of time and embodiment. And of course write about art when the compulsion strikes!

 

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: www.academia.edu/986658/Neo_Rauch_post-socialist_vision_collective_memories

Neo+Rauch+Vernissage+ZFtAIjL1VzKl
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