Issue 26:4 | December 2006 | Elders: The Old Magic
Elders: The Old Magic
Issue 26:4 | December 2006


Dr Pat Hoffie worked with Stephanie Britton to realise this themed issue. They networked across the nation to collect together a set of fascinating interviews and tributes to a dynamic and charismatic group of elders who helped create the identity of Australian art today. They wish to thank all the talented and dedicated interviewers some of whom travelled great distances to do face to face interviews with artists, curators and gallerists.
Rewards, Awards and Living Treasures
Thelma John provides an insight towards the National Trust Living Treasures Program, which recognises outstanding Australians that have contributed to our society with invaluable knowledge and experience within different disciplines such as visual art, acting and sport. John goes on the say that the program was initially for the elderly but has recently included more youthful luminaries. Although in retaliation to this John continues to elaborate on Australia's consistent movement towards a suitable Living Treasures program that includes awards that recognise such achievements within the Australian community.
The Bentinck Painters: Stories to Tell
The Aged Persons' Hostel on Mornington Island is home to 1000 residents. Amongst them are three women from nearby Bentinck Island whose culture is a very separate one to that of Mornington and whose experience of exile sets them quite apart. This article looks at the creative practice of Bentinck elder Sally Gabori, her first solo show and the success of the Woolloongabba Art Gallerys Bentinck Project. According to Robert Mercer, one of the co-directors of the WAG: "&the energy of the Bentinck painters comes from an impulse to tell stories about a life lived. To relate people and places and dreams and hopes in ways that make sense of the passage of time".
Daniel Thomas: Empathy and Understanding
Steven Miller talked to Daniel Thomas AM, much-loved curator and Emeritus Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, at his house overlooking the wild north coast of Tasmania about what he has discovered about art and artists during his long career across three major Australian art museums.
Bert Flugelman: Still Flying
Bert Flugelman is a sculptor and painter. His influence on generations of students is legendary, in major art schools in Sydney, Adelaide and Wollongong whose sculpture departments suddenly spring into life when he arrives. He has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Wollongong, whose Friends association raised the money to pay for his gigantic winged sculpture on Mount Ousley overlooking the city an Icarus in the ascendant. At 82, he is still hard at work making large-scale works in his studio and workshop in Bowral, NSW, where Tamara Winikoff interviewed him on 23 June 2006.
Carol Rudyard: Storyboards and Solitude
English-born Carol Rudyard arrived in Perth, Western Australia, in 1950. Her initial studies at the Western Australian Institute of Technology focused on textile design and colour field and op art inspired paintings. In 1977 she began a progressive shift into slide-based installation then installation with video. Recently she has shown digital prints. Carol's reputation derives from early engagement with audiovisual technologies and her social analysis of the complicity of consumerism and the gaze at the time when theorywas often held responsible for a dissipation of critique. This article includes an edited transcript of a conversation held between Carol Rudyard and Jasmin Stephens in August 2006.
Inge King: Playing Seriously
Zara Stanhope talked to Inge King on 28 August 2006 shortly after the dedication of her latest piece of public art Rings of Saturn at Heide Museum of Modern Art. The interview took place at the Robin Boyd designed house where King (b. 1918) and her aristist partner Grahame King have lived for half a century. The both have small studio spaces in the buildings, which are set on several acres in Warrandyte in outer Melbourne.
Ray Crooke: The Stillness and the Colour
Though born and educated in Melbourne, Ray Crooke spent most of his career in the tropics away from the metropolis, risking anonymity, at a time when equity funding and regional issues were unheard of. Despite these odds he is recognised as one of Australias visionary artists, his tropical and outback paintings suffused with a contemplative stillness. What are some of the pivotal points that shaped his independent career? What is he involved in at present? These were some of the questions put to him in Cairns where he and his wife June, now in their early eighties, live. Some of Crooke's artistic influences and contemporaries here discussed are Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman, Russell Drysdale and Sidney Nolan.
Udo Sellbach: Harsh Truths and Strong Feelings
Artist, educator and arts administrator Udo Sellbach (1927  2006) has made, and up until his death in September 2006, continued to make a profound contribution to the fine arts in this country. Born in Cologne in 1927, Udo emigrated to Australia in 1955. His experience as a founding member of the Kolner Presse and printmaker at the Kolner Werkschulen (1947-53) equipped him with the expertise to promote the development of printmaking as a studio practice within Australian art schools, particularly in the areas of etching and lithography. Sarah Scott conducted this interview with Udo in his studio in Taroona, Tasmania shortly after his seventy-ninth birthday in July 2006.
Butcher Cherel Janangoo: Imanara
Butcher Cherel Janangoos birth took place around eighty-five years ago. His mother was a Gooniyandi and Kija woman and he cites this as his heritage. He is first and foremost a markmaker. The lexicon of dots, dashes, strokes, washes, lines and imprints of brush, carving tool and sponge that Butcher employs are played out on canvas and paper as well as on etching and lithography plates and lino blocks. He is happy to work in any of these media yet regardless of the form or content of Butchers works, the subjects are all spectres of the same country, his riwi or home country that he calls Imanara.
Milton Moon: Approaching the Intangible
In his 80th year the eminent potter Milton Moon, AM, continues to make pots, working in a studio at his home in Adelaide. He exhibits with Aptos Cruz Galleries at Stirling in the Adelaide Hills. Over a long career Moon has received many awards and honours, including a Churchill Fellowship (1965) and is represented in many major public collections, including all the State galleries and The National Gallery of Australia. On a mild morning in early spring 2006 Margot Osborne sat with Moon to discuss his career as outlined in this article.
Arthur Pambegan Jr: Not to Die Away
Arthur Pambegan Jr was born in 1936 and lives at Aurukun on Cape York Peninsula. He is one of the senior members of the Wik-Mungkan language group and an elder of the Winchanam people. His main traditional lands lie between the Small Archer River and the Watson River. The sacred totemic sites of his people are told through two main stories Walkaln-aw (Bonefish Story Place) and Kalben (Flying Fox Story Place) which are the subjects of ceremonial carved sculptures. Peter Denham spoke to him in June 2002 at Aurukun.
Richard Larter: The Seasons of Art
For Richard Larter the material act of making paintings is an essential part of his daily life. He has written that my first mature paintings were pointillist abstracts done in house paints and enamels on lilac coloured masonite (Larter, 1998). Larter is an artist well aware of the visceral qualities of paint. Larters syringe paintings, made by forcing paint in raised lines onto hardboard, became the signature works for his initial Australian success. His role as assistant to the ceramicist Zora Merabek who was restoring the Marabout Tombs in Algiers led to a continuing interest in the visual forms of Islamic culture and a love of strong pure light. This article follows Larters prominent career and a lifetime of travel throughout Australia, New Zealand and abroad.
Hector Jandany 1927-2006: Teacher of Culture
Hector Jandanys work was informed by the ever-present knowledge of his country, and the ngarranggarni or Dreamtime the time the world and the rules for life began. He was renowned as a teacher of Gija language and culture in Warmun since the 1980s and he helped spread knowledge of song and ngarranggarni throughout the East Kimberley. Jandany was part of an amazing cultural team including George Mung Mung, Jack Britten, Henry Wambiny, Queenie McKenzie and others supported at Texas Downs by the kindness of manager Jimmy Klein.
Arthur + Corinne Cantrill: The Film's the Thing
Arthur and Corinne Cantrill, arguably Australias most important experimental filmmakers, have been making films since 1959, when they worked on films on child art. They bought their Bolex camera in 1960, and their first experimental films followed in 1961-62. Films like Mud, Kinegraffiti, Galaxy and Nebulae, were more or less stylised or abstracts with sound-tracks inspired by musique concrete experiments. In the years that followed, they made a large number of films, published 100 issues of Cantrills Filmnotes and gave innumerable screenings of works by themselves and other experimental filmmakers. Included is an edited version of an interview conducted by Warren Burt via telephone on 2 September 2006.
Bernard Smith: Reluctant Icon
Generations of art students have been encouraged to read his books on the history of Australian art. He has been revered, rejected, loved and loathed by young and old. Julie Copeland of ABC Radio Nationals Sunday Morning  Exhibit A has interviewed Bernard Smith many times over the years, about his books, his art criticism, his autobiography. In the lead up to his new books publication The Formalesque, and on the occasion of his 90th birthday in October 2006 she asked him to recap for Artlink readers, how the varied influences of his early life came together to produce Place, Taste and Tradition in 1945 when he was 29 years old.
Joan Brassil: Force and Tension
Joan Brassil was a rare spirit, a charismatic and immensely generous artist. She died at age 86 on 19 April 2005. Anne Sanders interviewed Brassil in July and August 2004 questioning her about her remarkable practice, her collaborations with scientists and her views on the cosmos. How did she conceive of the nature of art and what makes a person become an artist? Key figures here discussed include Malevich, Darwin, John Pollack and Brian Robinson.
Pioneering Gallerists: Bruce Pollard
The spirit of Pinacotheca burst forth in 1967 with Bruce Pollards opportunistic purchase of an elaborate seafront mansion at St Kilda, Melbourne. After three years Pollard was prompted and moved into a large raw, multi-level former factory in Richmond where Pinacothecas era erupted with an exhibition of large works by Peter Booth, Mike Brown, Peter Davidson, Bill Gregory, Dale Hickey, Robert Hunter, Kevin Mortensen, Ti Parks, Robert Rooney, Rollin Schlicht and Trevor Vickers. This article goes on to briefly explore the success of Pinacotheca and the many artists who emerged and blossomed here.
Donald Horne: The Power to Transform
While Donald Hornes contributions as a writer and public intellectual are widely known, his contribution to our understanding of the importance of culture in the lives of ordinary people is less so. He was someone who was moved by symbolism and ideas. He publicly championed the importance of cultural life  something no other chairman of the Australia Council, with the possible exception of Nugget Combes, has attempted. Artlink asked Deborah Mills to unpack the ways in which Horne operated in this arena.
Art and literature: A chapter in the autobiography of Donald Brook
Growing up in a diffe,ent wo,ld: this chapte, in octogenarian art theorist and philosopher, Donald Brook's autobiographical writings sheds light on the early adulthood of this super-gifted individual. It follows an earlier chapter on his childhood and adolescence. Depravity in Wharfedale published in Artlinlc Vol 25#3 (2005). 
Reunion of Mildura Directors
A small performance piece was created for the recent 50th anniversary celebrations of the Mildura Arts Centre which brought together six of the seven directors who have overseen the development of this remarkable regional arts complex since 1956. The extraordinary historical line-up of directors was a highlight with each providing personal insights into the galleries collection and their time at the helm. The presenting directors were Rex Bramleigh, Eric Westbrook, Tom McCullough, Michel Sourgnes, Ian Hamilton and Julian Bowron.
Joan Kerr: Unfinished Business
Art historian critic, essayist, heritage consultant, the late Joan Kerr was writing of the Irish-Australian women who passed though the Hyde Park Barracks wondering whether their presence was effectively mediated into the Irish Famine sculpture. Furthermore she added we dont want to remember them solely in piety as what has melted away in dismemberment and loss. Ironically Joan could be prophetically setting out the appropriate moodscape for her own memorialising. In the words of her husband who has compiled a partisan and intimate memoir of this distinguished artworld figure, Joan had a natural capacity to prick pretension and kick against the pricks of perceived injustice
Minyma Tjukurrpa Canvas Project Kintore

Minyma Tjukurrpa is the Pintupi term for womens law or story. When the older women of Kintore saw members of their immediate family painting at the Ikuntji Womens Centre at Haasts Bluff they instigated a painting project which was to become known by that name. These same women went on to paint for Papunya Tula and are now represented in public galleries nationally and internationally. This article documents the history of the Ikuntji community, the links between the Pintupi from the Walungurru area and Haasts Bluff and the dancing and painting practices of these twenty-five senior women.

Ernest Orel: Master of the Press
The relationship of the artworld with the world of mass production printing has always been a very important one. Graphic designers and their clients have been blessed in Adelaide by the presence here of Ernest Orel whose commitment to quality, attention to detail and willingness to experiment has helped and inspired many people and set a very high benchmark for the whole of Australia. Here Irene Previn looks at the prominent career of Ernest Orel now aged 74 and the outstanding achievements of his printing company Finsbury in the production of environmentally friendly products and processes.
Gwen Leitch Harris 1931 - 2006
Gwen Leitch Harris, born 1931 in Burnie, Tasmania, was raised in a matriarchal household where her artistic gift was sensitively realised. She studied painting at Hobart Technical College under Jack Carrington Smith who recognised her talent. Gwen described herself being like Adelaide&  a well-kept secret and in her gentle unassuming manner, revealed aspects of her remarkable life. Hellen Fuller here pays homage to the life and career of a remarkable woman and artist.
City of Perth PhotoMedia Award
City of Perth PhotoMedia Award Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) 5 October - 5 November 2006
Guan Wei
Unfamiliar Land Guan Wei Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia 16 June  - 23 July 2006
John Vella: Fume
Fume John Vella Devonport Regional Gallery, Tasmania 9 September - 8 October 2006
Eleanor Avery: Boomtown
Boomtown Eleanor Avery Blacklab, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane 26 August - 13 September 2006
Primavera 06
Primavera 06 Curated by Aaron Seeto Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 13 September - 19 November 2006
Roger Ballen
Shadow Chamber Roger Ballen Stills Gallery, Sydney 16 August - 16 September 2006
pvi collective
reform pvi collective Northbridge, Perth 25 May - 4 June 2006
A Man's World
A Man's World John Beard, Gordon Bennett, Jon Campbell, Adam Cullen, Andrew Curtis, Dani Marti, Noel McKenna, Euan McLeod, James Mellon, Glenn Morgan, Ben Morieson, Charles Robb, Gareth Sansom, David Wadelton Curated by Frank McBride Museum of Brisbane 18 July - 19 November 2006
video/performance nights at Downtown
Local Video & Performance Nights McKay/Siebert & Viv Miller; Shimmeeshok; Emma Northey & Stephen Roedel 6, 20, 27 September 2006 Downtown Artspace, Adelaide
Irrunytju Arts
Irrunytju Arts: Senior Artists from Irrunytju 12 August - 9 September 2006 Raft Artspace, Parap, NT
Decorama at Inflight
Decorama at Inflight Fiona Lee Inflight Gallery, Hobart 2 - 30 September 2006
Louise Weaver
Taking a Chance on Love: Selected Works 1990 - 2006 Louise Weaver 9 July - 27 August 2006 McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Victoria
Alicia King: i'm growing to love you
I'm growing to love you Linden, St Kilda Centre for Contemporary Arts Victoria, Melbourne 18 August - 24 September 2006
Life is Getting Longer
Life Is Getting Longer Michael Bullock (Aus), Eleanor Crook (UK), Nick Devlin (Aus/UK), Jon Jones (UK), Justine Khamara (Aus), Steven Rendall (Aus/UK) Curated by Steven Rendall VCA Gallery, Melbourne 1 - 24 June 2006
Clifford Frith: perpetuating the bloodlines
Pat Hoffie talked to Clifford Frith, about his life as an artist and a teacher, about where and how your essential focus is born and shaped and the possibility of passing some of this on to students and others. She has admired and watched his way of working and living for two decades and as Frith continues to outlive in energy and inventiveness so many younger than himself she probes into how this came to happen. He is a prolific artist, moving between painting, sculpture and drawing.
Pioneering Gallerists: Kym Bonython

While Kym Bonython AC, DFC, AFC is not in the league of the iconic art dealers Joseph Duveen or Ambroise Vollard, he was as important to the Australian art scene in the 60s as Leo Castelli was to New York. Born in Adelaide in 1920, he chronicled his unusual life in autobiography Ladies Legs and Lemonade in 1979 which describes his various careers to that point. When Paul Greenaway talked to him for Artlink recently he began by asking him about his collecting activities in the early days, who he bought art from and whether he followed their lead.