Comics seem to find critical acclaim in the mainstream only under certain conditions. First, they must deal with bleakly mature themes. Second, they must do so in a cartoony style that belies their seriousness, to paraphrase their mainstream reviewers. (What comics style isn’t somehow cartoony?) The graphic novel section in any given bookstore thus leans towards warzone journalism, family drama and wrenching confessionals. Despite constant reminders that comics have grown up, the non-comics reading public probably picture them less as a medium fulfilling its potential, than as one held back after class and tasked with writing multiple essays on very heady topics, as punishment for earlier mischief-making. Cementing but also subverting this image is Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina, which, in a first for comics, was longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize.
In his pronouncements on art throughout this book, Unsworth constantly reiterates that he saw very little art, read very few art magazines and arrived at his own conclusions – whatever parallels seemed to be apparent were simply happy coincidences and fortuitous parallel trajectories. At least, that is the position adopted in this book, where the artist’s voice is omnipresent and the intentional fallacy is not a consideration.
ink is as scrupulous, in her way, as her subject was. By which I mean she is able, most of the time, to avoid comment. She doesn’t editorialise. The significance of events in Oliver’s life is allowed to emerge from contemporary testimony, perhaps, or from narrative juxtaposition, or simply because of the baleful grandeur of Oliver’s commitment to her work and the sometimes alarming consequences of her dedication.
'Martin Edmonds on a new history of Indigenous Australian art 'Nothing is simple in this philosophical arena, where rattling spears and tjurunga contend with sextants and theodolites; cans of spray paint with the sepia tones of old colonial photographs. The question is how to make a future. If the Dreaming was always about eternity poured into time, the problem the Enlightenment brought with it—along with its Cartesian accoutrements—was how to protect eternity from time.' '
'This is not a study of Aboriginal art but of the way that Aboriginal art has been written and spoken about, mostly in Australia, since the 1970s. Fisher’s object is not only ‘art criticism’, as that phrase is usually understood, but also policy discourse in which Aboriginal art is understood to be a means to an end.'
Dobell remains an enigma. Bevan says that nobody knew who he was, not even Dobell himself, but I doubt this. I think he knew himself exactly and chose not to communicate that knowledge to others, except parsimoniously in the paintings, and sometimes in life.