MCA: Anish Kapoor

At Australia’s MCA, an exhibition by famous contemporary British sculptor Anish Kapoor is a tour de force, writes Susie Burge


Above: Anish Kapoor 2007. Image courtesy and © the artist. Photograph: Phillipe Chancel

There’s largeness about Anish Kapoor, in every way. His voice is resonant and modulated, with the eloquence of a Shakespearean actor; his presence is charismatic (he’s not a tall man, yet there’s a compelling aura); and of course there’s his work. In 2011 Kapoor installed “Leviathan” in the Grand Palais in Paris. Part of the annual Monumenta series (following on from Anselm Keifer and Christian Boltanski), Leviathan, strikingly, architecturally and quite beautifully, took up the entire gi-normous space, as if the building itself were pregnant, and created a new transitory environment. In 2012, his mad tower - Orbit - was the headline art exhibit and viewing platform for the London Olympics. Now, in Sydney, he addresses the contentious issue of public sculpture (he’s on record as saying he thinks it should be more than a bit of decoration on the lawn) by waving a hand to the surrounds, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, both visible from the museum, as effective (architectural) examples of public sculpture. Kapoor is a believer in scale. Placed just outside the Museum of Contemporary Art, his own Sky Mirror joins the conversation.

MONA: Theatre of the World

Is Theatre of the World MONA’s most extraordinary achievement yet? The exhibition combines the collections of David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art and The Tasmania Museum and Art Gallery in a tour de force by renowned guest curator Jean- Hubert Martin. The long-running show continues over the summer, alongside MONA’s hit list of festivals and events (MOFO, MoMa, JAM …) Hobart has never seemed so intriguing, writes Susie Burge


Above: Barkcloth Room with Coffin of Iret-Heru-ru Egypt, late 26th Dynasty, c. 600–525 BCE. Photo Credit: MONA/Rémi Chauvin Image Courtesy MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


Ian Fairweather: Late Works

Ian Fairweather is a legendary figure in Australian Art, living alone in a bush hut for the last twenty years of his life, painting subtle, complex, sophisticated paintings. A compelling exhibition at Queensland Art Gallery (on till March 3, 2013) celebrates these late, great years - by Susie Burge


Above: Ian Fairweather painting in his studio on Bribie Island, 1972 | National Archives of Australia: A6135, K24/11/72/1


Kate Tucker

Attention ATL readers & collectors: young Melbourne-based painter Kate Tucker is one to watch, writes Susie Burge


Kate Tucker's 2012 Archibald Prize finalist portrait of Missy Higgins - Melody (you're the only one who saves me) Acrylic on linen, 155 x 125

I first came across Kate Tucker last year when Brisbane’s Edwina Corlette Gallery posted a covetable series of abstracts on Facebook, then swiftly announced that this new solo exhibition of paintings had sold prior to opening. (Bugger.) I next came across Tucker at this year’s Archibald Prize, when the artist attracted public attention with her portrait of Missy Higgins. Now, Kate Tucker’s work is appearing on billboards around town. She created the cover artwork for Missy’s chart-topping album, distinctive painterly gorgeously-coloured fragments swirling and coalescing, almost 3D in sense, some surrounding the subject, some freely their own landscape. This week, the artist’s exhibition of new paintings – her third solo exhibition – is due to open at Helen Gory Galerie in Melbourne.

Angus Nivison: A Survey

A world-class survey show at one of Australia’s modest regional galleries is a must-see, writes Susie Burge


Above clockwise: Tamworth Regional Gallery Angus Nivison Survey Show; Summer Cotton Bimbang (detail); Hard Rain (detail).

The New England does winter well. Lean, spare, hungry-looking hills, coloured in pale shades of wheat and silver, with grey woolly sheep bunkering down or white-faced cattle huddled under lone eucalypts, and avenues of leafless poplars etched against a watery sky laced with mackerel cloud. On a very cold day, there is snow out here, a slender blanket laid like icing over the landscape, and dangerous slip on the road. Read More...

This Finite Earth - Biennale of Sydney 2012

The Art Gallery of NSW hosts an inspiring segment of this year’s Biennale of Sydney, writes Susie Burge


Guido van der Werve, 'Nummer Acht: Everything is going to be alright' - courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York. Photograph: Ben Geraerts

The 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia’s largest festival of contemporary art, opened last week. It’s spread over 4 key city and harbour venues: Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cockatoo Island, Pier 2/3 at Walsh Bay. And this year, Carriageworks in Redfern is a presenting partner with an installation by Belgian artist Ann Veronica Janssens.


Welcome to Helen Eager's Colourful World

Helen Eager’s large wall painting is set to dance along the smart new entrance foyer of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art at the end of March. Plus, a retrospective of her work is on show at Utopia Art Sydney. It’s time to take a fresh look at this mid-career artist, writes Susie Burge


Above: Helen Eager in her studio (photo: Susie Burge)

Artist Helen Eager has spent the last three decades quietly drawing, painting and printmaking. Yes, she achieved recognition young, being picked up by Sydney’s respected Watters Gallery for her first solo show in 1977, awarded a Visual Arts Board travel grant in 1980, and a residency in the Australia Council studio in NYC with her partner (artist & gallerist) Christopher Hodges in 1988, but over the years there’s been scant mainstream media coverage given to her work. Apart from the occasional blip, on the whole she’s flown under the radar. Read More...

Christian Marclay’s The Clock: In Anticipation

On Thursday 29th March, Christian Marclay’s The Clock chimes a new era for Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Susie Burge counts down.


Above: Stills from The Clock (see credits below) and portrait of Christian Marclay (image by Dr. J Caldwell)

Christian Marclay’s magnum opus The Clock, a 24-hour video mash-up of film and tv clips referencing time that runs in real time, thus telling the time, makes good copy. It’s impossible, really, to properly illustrate with a selection of images (the work being made up of literally thousands of tiny segments from famous and not so famous scenes that are connected in clever, disparate literal and/or metaphoric ways, including creative sound editing), and hence words rather than visuals have come to the fore. Since The Clock’s debut at White Cube in London in 2010, writers have made inspired attempts to convey the essence of the thing. After seeing The Clock at Paula Cooper Gallery in NYC, British novelist Zadie Smith wrote a brilliant essay for the New York Review of Books titled “Killing Orson Welles at Midnight”. Her evocative prose makes one simply ache to experience the work itself. Read More...

Garry Shead - Bali Bound

Garry Shead is leading an intensive art retreat in Bali this year. ATL gets the skinny.


Garry Shead - The Letter

Garry Shead paints lyrical, emotive, dreamlike figurative paintings. He draws on the techniques of the old masters, Titian in particular (“I always go back to Titian”), yet his work is quintessentially Australian, exploring and mythologising subjects and narratives such as DH Lawrence’s Kangaroo, the Royal Suite (based on Queen Elizabeth’s first visit) the Ern Malley suite, and most recently a series inspired by his uncle Maurice O’Shea who was a legendary pioneering winemaker in Pokolbin. His work – paintings, etchings, drawings and even ceramics - is suffused with a heightened sense of emotion – love, joy, sadness, happiness - and something akin to magic. He paints marvellous pictures, in the true sense of the word.

Geoff Dyer - Vision Splendid

No one does moody Tasmanian landscapes & seascapes quite like Geoff Dyer. Susie Burge meets the award-winning painter on his home turf.


Geoff Dyer in his Hobart studio; creative mess - the artist's studio; Ocean Beach oil on canvas 122 x 213cm

Geoff Dyer picks me up from my hotel in a battered old green BMW, ashtray overflowing, cigarette ash drifting in the air. His weathered face cracks into a roguish grin. We arrive at his studio, in an old brewery. Unlocking the door, he apologises for the mess. I don’t mind mess, I respond (this is true). “This is where it happens!” he announces with a self-deprecating flourish.

I enter an artist’s studio from central casting: paint-splattered raw floor, worn leather club chairs, canvasses stacked and propped, buckets, rags, tubes, brushes, papers, boots – everything crusted in oil paint. It’s situated in a turn-of-the-century building with exposed rafters and unrendered rough-painted brick walls. The windows are original, arched and flooded with pale Hobart light.