I began the year taking a break from pictures and writing a novel. It was more therapy than a serious bid for literature and the interlude proved refreshing. When I returned to pictures I expected to only produce one or two series of digital sketches and to concentrate instead on paintings derived from them, with the added time and funds allowed by finally gaining a pension in May. That took some time to arrange but unexpectedly provided a fresh perspective on my digital practice. It inspired further sketches and a rearrangement of my site. So it’s been another prolific year, even while planning to slow down – Five series, 241 new pictures. PASS WORDS are my favourite.
With a folio of 18 new paintings I set about cold calling galleries. Cold calling anything at 66 is gruelling, but galleries were especially daunting. There was however, some encouragement. Toward the end of the year I worked on a short story, not prompted by private trauma this time, but simply enjoying the imaginative resources of fiction (and perhaps reflecting on my earlier career in movies). So there has been a certain symmetry to the year and a broadening of project.
My reviews for Melbourne Art Seen have continued, although I only managed six this year. The show I most regret not reviewing was Andrew Browne’s show at Tolarno. But the gallery and artist are well respected and the show well received generally. There were a number I initially intended to review, did quite a bit of background research on, before realising that I had nothing positive to add and cancelled. That happens with my in-depth approach. The most read review was undoubtedly The NGV’s ‘The Field Revisited’ – over twice as many hits as any other this year, even though not promoting a given artist’s work on social media. I don’t know how word got around, but when it got back to me, I discovered some were offended. I think it was my best review and I think it corrected a number of unhelpful myths about the original show and the course of Australian painting. Apart from that the standout shows in Melbourne for me were Steven Rendall’s ‘Eighteen Hours and Six Hundred and Seventy Four Days’ at Niagara Galleries and Sven t’Jolle’s ‘People Are Bad for The Economy’ at Station Gallery.