It’s Wednesday night at the end of my “day off”. I took a day off today to make up for working 8 days in a row. Yeh, totally selfish I know. But it was really nice to have a mid-week day to myself. The weekends are fine, but there’s something really satisfying, almost self-indulgent about having a day off during the week.
Since I last wrote, I’ve caught up with fellow bloggers, Glen and Mark last night at Newtown’s Town Hall Hotel, which was a load of fun, as we drank and played pool for a couple of hours. Afterwards I met up with Colin at the Petersham RSL at Newtown, which, thanks to my membership of the Lismore RSL, I entered without any trouble at all. After there, Colin and I went to the Newtown Hotel for a couple of bevvies and a very amusing chat with the barman there. If you’ve been to the Newtown, you’ll no doubt recognise the older man, fuller figure with a beard. Anyway, he and Colin chatted about some many long-forgotten spots of Sydney.
After hanging around home for a few hours this morning listening to the radio – for pleasure, not work – I met Kate and Joan at the Art Gallery of NSW where the two current exhibitions are Self Portrait and Art Express 06.
The self portrait exhibition is excellent, bringing together 400 or so years of self-portraits by some of the world’s leading artists, including well known figures such as Van Gogh, Warhol, Whistler and Rubens. That they (in conjunction with the UK’s National Portrait Gallery) have attracted self-portraits from such a great variety of artists (and, interestingly, loads of female artists) is an absolute tribute to the curators. But also impressive are the works themselves as they provide a fascinating insight into the artists themselves, posing questions about why they’d portray themselves in the manner they did. Particular favourites included the Warhol and the Rubens, but also a black American artist, whose name I don’t recall, who never trained as an artist, but was tutored by some university academics and who continued to work at a hospital (or somesuch) while painting. Nice story. There’s a Frida Kahlo self-portrait (but weren’t all of her works self-portraits?). There was also a large work by another female artist whose name I don’t recall, who had a “great bum”. Another favourite is an artist with his family. Sorry, I’d remember all of this stuff, except I gave the program to someone visiting from Perth who I ran into on the way home. If you live in Sydney and can afford $12, I’d suggest going. Oh, by the way, if you spend $15, you also get access to the Archibald and Sulman Prizes, as well.
And then we wandered downstairs to Art Express which I normally enjoy, but which this year I thought was a little boring. There was an interesting piece about being queer in “The Shire”. There was also a really good work by a young (I assume) indigenous artist, drawing heavily on the style of artists like Rover Thomas. There was also a comic book style work by an artist from Newcastle, Rochelle Coxon which I liked mostly for its execution, rather than its content. There was also an artist, Riley Field whose paintings, photographs and sculptures resembled either condoms or Absolut vodka bottles who is worth keeping an eye on. Oddly enough, bunny rabbits turn up in two of the works this year, including this work by Jie (Shirley) Pan, which I thought was interesting. Also noteworthy was Joan’s observation about the spelling mistake in this work by Alexandra Pollak. But overall, I thought it was a little boring. The most difficult thing about viewing the exhibition, ironically enough, was the large number of school kids viewing the exhibition.
Lunch at Hingara followed, and then one of those lovely Easyway shaved-ice drinks, and an afternoon nap. What a great day off