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!
Annette Hamilton 2015. Rowboat, 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