Friday, October 14, 2016

Sam Harris by Zoe Young.

Sam Harris by Zoe Young.
The painting echoes the pose of Manet’s Olympia – but the subject is an indigenous Australian woman surrounded by European books, that comment on the European traditions of art, and perched underneath the leg of the day bed, holding it level, is a copy of John Berger's Ways of Seeing.  The symbolism of this was what first struck me when viewing the painting at the Archibald prize exhibition. It is not subtle. It offers continuity with a tradition and, at the same time, a re-contextualisation and critical comment on it.  The only analysis of the painting that I found so far identifies the reference Manet’s work but concludes that Young's painting is shallow and unconsidered: 
It’s a likeable, albeit lightweight work, but I don’t understand what Young is trying to tell us by putting so many books into the picture. Does she want us to know she is a good reader? Is she suggesting Harris is not just a pretty face? Either way, the gratuitous sprinkling of titles acts as a distraction, not an enhancement.
The titles aren't a distraction; they offer an interpretive lens to the entire composition.  I don't think Young merely wants to show that she is a good reader.  The allusion to Manet establishes continuity, the selection of books on European art and australiana reemphasises both continuity and recontexualization, and a book about the social context and purpose of art invites social comment  on the traditions of art in Australia and the representation of women in art and indigenous women in particular. How could an art critic miss these connections?  

Friday, May 20, 2016

First (Non-Self) Citation.

Extract from Sardamov's (2015: 92) "Out of Touch: The Analytic Misconstrual of Social Knowledge."
Rather than my first non-self citation coming from one of my academic publications it was actually a post on this blog that managed to attract some attention.  I don't mind that the sentence is embedded in a sequence of text that I don't think is a reasonable approximation of something I have argued.  But you can judge that for yourself. I'm just miffed that someone cited something I wrote. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sailing Marrow.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."  - Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods.

Sailing from Coal Point to Croudace Bay: 

Another day at Port Stephen heads: 

And earlier in the same day as the first video,  sailing from Dora Creek up toward Pulbah Island:

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