Art was her life. This is a large, beautifully, lavishly illustrated coffee table book about the fascinating life of ELAINE HAXTON, excellently researched.
This publication is divided into ten chapters with a forward by Adam Wynn. While yes there is a table of contents at the front and an extensive bibliography, this is one of those excellent but annoying books that doesn’t have an index.
Copies of newspaper clippings and brief information about various people or events are included in highlight boxes on the page. We learn that Haxton travelled wildly, which expanded and developed her oeuvre. She worked in various media and often juggled different projects all at once. How did she do it? She was a favourite of the press and had a great reputation in the art world. Continue reading ELAINE HAXTON BY LORRAINE PENNY McLAUGHLIN→
This is an affectionate, delightful look at the life of June Bronhill, one of Australia’s theatrical legends, by Richard Davis.
The book has twelve chapters, a list of June’s stage performances (this reviewer saw her several times in various productions), a list of the recordings she made and a select bibliography as well as an index and a loving forward by Marina Prior. All the photos included are in black and white.
The Adelaide Festival , or Festival of the Arts as it was originally known , has now been going for an amazing 60 years.
This is a beautiful, large and heavy coffee table book. It is divided into nine ‘chapters’ and is lavishly illustrated throughout with both black and white and colour photos. At the back is a tabulation of sixty years of posters advertising the Festival, then a list of short biographies of the various contributors. It is not an archival, chronological record of the Festival but rather a collection of memories and photos.
The editor, Catherine McKinnon, is an award-winning novelist and playwright. She studied theatre performance and cinema at Flinders University. Her play ‘Tilt’ was selected for the 2010 National Playwriting Festival, and As I Lay Dreaming won the 2010 Mitch Matthews Award. Her short stories, reviews and articles have appeared in Transnational Literature, Text Journal, RealTime, Narrative and the Griffith Review.
McKinnon, along with four other writers, won the Griffith Review Novella 111 Award, 2015, and her novella ‘Will Martin’ was published by Griffith Review in October of that year. Her novel ‘Storyland’ was shortlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Award, the Barbara Jefferis Award and the Voss Award.
Contributors (over fifty of them!) range from previous Artistic Directors, performers in the Festival (some have been both) reviewers , lighting designers, publicists and other Adelaide luminaries.
The book looks at the problems of programming a Festival , ticketing the Festival, performing in a Festival and the massive successes , the dangerous accidents and near misses in performance. It also looks at the interconnectivity of people connected to the Festival , and we learn about various productions and their links to the history of Australian Dance Theatre, the Australian Ballet, Circus OZ, Bangarra, the Sydney Symphony etc.
Other passages are very personal : We read of Jim Sharman’s extended sojourn with the Festival since 1964 , how Akram Khan was a teenage performer in Brook’s ‘Mahabharata’ and has become Artistic Director of one of the world’s major dance companies , Annabel Crabb driving members of the Frankfurt Ballet to Maslin’s Beach, Rachel Healey being transfixed by Phillipe Genty’s puppets as a child.
In the opera world we learn that several productions as part of the Festival were the first performances of that work in Australia. WOMelaide, Writers Week and Artist’s Week are also part of the memories. There is also an article included by former SA premier Don Dunstan , who was a major supporter of the arts
It is fascinating to see that some events/productions are consistently mentioned as magical experiences – eg the 1980 Water Tunnel , Pina Bausch and her company visiting , Peter Brook’s Mahabharata and the opera Voss to name just a few. The inclusion of indigenous content in the Festival is also examined. The intersections of the various people exemplify how the Festival has become a major nucleus for the arts in South Australia.
The book asks – why Adelaide? Does Adelaide and its Festival have its own distinct personality? Can a performance change your life?
The Festival is both of and for the people – there is a great quote by its founder,Professor John Bishop OBE – to whom the Festival’s aim is to ‘ To do the extraordinary … to make possible that which otherwise would not happen ‘.
As Patrick McDonald says ‘ Diversity, inclusivity and creativity have been the consistent hallmarks of sixty years of Adelaide Festival openings. All that remains to be seen is what future fusions of imagination and technology will bring to its table’ .To quote Barry Kosky ‘ Long may it reverberate and rejoice’.
ADELAIDE FESTIVAL 60 YEARS 1960-2020 is published by Wakefield Press and available at all leading book retailers.
Size 255 x 255 mm
Extent 296 pages
This is a fascinating book. It is a relatively small and light paperback , written in a clear and easy to understand style . Divided into seventeen chapters ,the biography has a handy table of contents as well as a list of abbreviations used and a Forward by the author at the front , several pages of footnotes and a well researched bibliography and index at the back.There are some black and white photos throughout and there is a rather delicate and charming portrait of Lee as the frontispiece .
Solidly researched, following trails in Armagh, Monaghan, Cambridge, London and Adelaide Denise George examines the extraordinary inspirational life of Mary Lee, a suffragist and social justice advocate . At times Lee broke/ignored society’s restrictive conventions of the times to improve the lot of women and others.
Lee was born in 1821 in Monaghan, Ireland daughter of a Protestant working class family and trained as a school teacher. In 1844 she married George(?) Lee, organist and vicar-choral of Armagh Cathedral; they had four sons and three daughters. Before travelling to Adelaide in 1879 Lee had escaped the devastating potato famine in Ireland and moved to England with George , first Cambridge and then London becoming principal of her own school .’ She spoke lovingly of George and held a high regard for her late husband many years after his death ‘. Continue reading MARY LEE : THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A TURBULENT ACTIVIST→
This beautifully presented book will be treasured by contemporary dance lovers. Wakefield Press yet again have brought us a stunning medium to large sized coffee table book, in this case the history of Australian Dance Theatre, informatively, eloquently written and with superb photos.
The publication features forwards by both the current Chairman Kim Boehm and Robyn Archer, an excellent index at the back is included, and there is also a handy listing of the various dancers who performed under each of the artistic directors. The writer, Maggy Tonkin, is a leading writer on dance who resides in Adelaide .
Considered radical, daring and new, Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) is Australia’s oldest continuously running contemporary dance company. Celebrating half a century of innovation in dance performance, FIFTY blends archival research, interviews and magnificent photos to take us from its founding by Elizabeth Cameron Dalman through to the exciting performances that are taking place nowunder the current Artistic Director Garry Stewart.
ADT’s tumultuous history is divided into seven chapters (each of the artistic directors reigns) with a striking portrait of each. The book fascinatingly follows the sometimes quite different paths ADT has taken under the successive artistic direction of Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, Jonathan Taylor, Lenny Westerdijk and Anthony Steel,Leigh Warren,Meryl Tankard, Bill Pengelly and Garry Stewart. Continue reading ‘FIFTY’ BY MAGGY TONKIN CHARTS THE HISTORY OF THE AUSTRALIAN DANCE THEATRE→
LONNIE’S LAMENT, the latest collection of poems by Ken Bolton, was recently published by Wakefield Press. Bolton has been a major figure in the Australian poetry and experimental writing scene for decades. Whilst he says that he writes ‘to keep awake, and amused’, this latest collection is yet another reminder of how wonderful a writer he is.
Featured image – Fish ForThe Fight (1993) by Catherine Truman.
‘Catherine Truman is medium agnostic. Although she is enduringly fond of intricately carving English lime wood, her oeuvre extends into contemporary jewellery, objects, performance, choreography, public sculpture, installation, photography & moving image. She is a holistic maker – acutely aware of her process, while continually evolving her inquiry. Truman’s curiosity takes her & her makings into the anatomically unfamiliar – probing thresholds of human ‘being’.’
Melinda Rackham 2015.
Treat yourself – grab this stunning book , beautifully brought to us by Wakefield Press . This publication is a visual feast, drawing on Rackham’s generous conversations with Truman and her extensive research into her archives, photographs, process documentation, journals, hard-drives and drawings. The book has been illustrated with ravishing, enticing images, predominantly by Grant Hancock. ( This book should receive awards for the photos alone, and Rackham’s insightful writing is thoughtful, clear and concise).
This publication made me want to book a plane trip to Adelaide straight away and run to the Gray Street Workshop.
Catherine Truman is an established contemporary jeweller and object-maker whose works blur the disciplines of art and science. She is co-founder and current partner of the Gray Street Workshop – an internationally renowned artist-run workshop established in 1985 in Adelaide, South Australia, where she currently works and lives. Continue reading CATHERINE TRUMAN: TOUCHING DISTANCE→
Exquisitely, beautifully illustrated this is a large coffee table book, a fascinating visual feast . It is linked in with the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in Australia which has just finished at Carrick Hill in Adelaide .It follows the story of Stanley Spencer’s various muses and the subjects that made him one of the greatest forces in British painting.
Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) is regarded as one of Britain’s most significant twentieth-century painters. Shortly after studying at the Slade School of Art, Spencer became well known for his paintings depicting Biblical scenes occurring as if in Cookham, the small village beside the River Thames where he was born and spent much of his life. Continue reading STANLEY SPENCER – A TWENTIETH CENTURY BRITISH MASTER→
This monograph, featuring over 120 of his artworks, traces the remarkable career of the painter Richard Maurovic. A large, lavishly illustrated enticing ‘coffee table ‘ book it is stunning, visually arresting and delicately draws the reader in.
It is twenty years since Richard Maurovic’s first solo exhibition in 1996. His 2016 exhibition of old and new works at the Hill Smith Gallery, Pirie Street, Adelaide, and the publication of this book celebrate his considerable achievements.
Often described as a ‘’super realist ‘” influenced by Jeffrey Smart, Richard Maurovic has in fact drawn on a wide range of artistic influences from Piero della Francesca to the American Precisionists painters, particularly Edward Hopper, and the Australian Modernists.
Human activity and its impact on the shaping of both rural and urban environments are of great concern to Maurovic .The visual geometric appeal of his subject matter, and explorations of colours, shapes, detail and patterns delight with his ‘bold structural compositions, saturated planes of colour and crisply rendered forms. Physically compromised by an accident in his early twenties, now wheelchair bound , Maurovic combines his interests and distinctive technique with extraordinary ingenuity in the pursuit of his very particular vision.
Richard Maurovic is an artist who, while summoning memories and associations of his beloved Adelaide and South Australian countryside, also makes statements of concern regarding the ubiquitous nature of modern landscape design and consumerism, and in doing so connects us across both interstate and international boundaries ( ie street signs, views at airports).
The book is divided into several chapters , looking at Maurovic’s early life and then various aspects of his work – how he is fascinated by industry , transport and technology, portraits, still life works, landscapes and so on and also provides a chapter looking towards the future.
One section I particularly liked is the amazing Portraits .There are a couple of marvellous self portraits, one of Maurovic as a glamourous Napoleon, the other as a Doge of Venice ( echoing Carpaccio ).
The portrait of Suzanne Twelftree with its echoes of Frida Kahlo’s work is striking and challenging. There is also the striking Self Portrait in Wheelchair, with its unusual angles and viewpoint, revealing the restrictions he faces, and leading on to the whole discourse on artists and disability.
In the ‘People’ section paintings range from dizzying Brooklyn Bridge workers to that of a busy chef and also a homage to Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe in the picture Echelon Menwith Hill featuring a strange golf ball like clouds with the military base in the background.
A solitary bather at Bondi poses on the steps and we also see the posh QVB tea rooms and the elegant Adelaide Club dining room contrasted with the plastic dreariness of the State Library Café in Adelaide ( look! It’s Jeffrey Smart! )
The wonderful still lifes are also arresting close ups of Smarties or the stripey Chocolate Biscuit Dreaming for example ( not forgetting the donuts , Frog cakes and other wonderful textured foods that make you just hungry looking at them ) in their precisely observed and controlled detail. It also make one appreciate the finely detailed design and texture.
The Shaved Pigs Head and Lamb Rump paintings are rather disturbing and unsettling.
The landscapes are also glorious ranging from Adelaide to London to Venice and elsewhere. There is an amazing sense of rushing speed with the works detailing planes, trains and trucks zooming everywhere.
At the back of the monograph there is a list of selected awards and exhibitions Maurovic has won /participated in. There is also a listing of all the works by Maurovic featured in the book and as well as a separate listing of the works by other artists included which are also acknowledged.
This monograph has been co-authored by Jennifer Palmer and Maggie Watson.
Jennifer Palmer is a retired broadcaster with ABC Radio National where she was responsible for the Social History Unit and other feature programs. She has also been a book reviewer and art reviewer for national newspapers, an interviewer for oral history collections and has published short stories.
Maggie Watson is an Art History Graduate of the University of Adelaide and holds a Masters in Fine and Decorative Art from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She worked in the Modern British Art department of Christies’s London before returning to Australia. As an art consultant she has written catalogue essays for several Australian artists, including Richard Maurovic’s Saatchi exhibition in 2014.
Category Arts, Architecture and Design
Format Jacketed hardback
Size 260 x 250 mm
Extent 152 pages
“One lives a life, and then one reflects upon it” Newell Platten
Just released by the wonderful Wakefield Press this is an amazing autobiography interweaving both the author’s and his parents incredible lives. Architecture is linked with a sense of place and an artist’s eye.
This is a very exciting medium sized book, at times rather breathlessly written. It is divided into three parts, includes a handy table of contents at the front, and a well coordinated index at the end with plenty of photos both black and white and colour- family photos , extraordinary shots of the native First Peoples in Papua New Guinea and glorious shots of particular architecture. Continue reading HYBRID BEAUTY : AN ARCHITECT, A MISSIONARY AND THEIR IMPROBABLE DESIRES→
If you have an appetite and a zest for life then read on…
The promo blurb to DINING ALONE describe the collection thus, “Dining Alone was written by creative writing students at the University of Adelaide from 2007 to 2013; young and old, aggressive and reflective, wistful and resolute, some content in their cloak of solitude while others envy the love and laughter at other tables. The stories are poignant and surprising, sometimes with a hint of mystery or political intrigue; some have bittersweet endings while others celebrate brave new beginnings.”
The collection has been edited by Professor Barbara Santich. The students stories are journeys with food as well as being journeys of self discovery which satisfy, soothe and feed the soul’s cravings as well. Continue reading DINING ALONE→
This latest wonderful book by Eileen Chanin and Steven Miller is fascinating, enthralling and inspirational. At times it makes one filled with envy at their extraordinary journeys, at other times deeply sympathetic at the poor treatment and lack of respect that they received.
AWAKENINGS: FOUR LIVES IN ART principally examines the lives and careers of the four women from the post Federation era to the turbulence of World War 11. This is a small to medium sized book, lavishly illustrated with both black and white and colour photos, has a brief index and a well researched bibliography.
BODIES OF THOUGHT:- Twelve Australian Choreographers- Edited by Erin Brannigan and Virginia Baxter
Beautifully presented , lavishly illustrated with lots of glorious photos, BODIES OF THOUGHT looks at twelve award winning Australian choreographers who have international reputations and have created influential legacies. The choreographers featured are : Kate Champion, Rosalind Crisp , Tess De Quincey ,Russell Dumas, Lucy Guerin, Sue Healey, Helen Herbertson, Gideon Obarzanek , Stephen Page , Gary Stewart , Meryl Tankard and Ros Warby .
It is interesting to note that in this case women outnumber men and that almost if not all the choreographers have held the position of Artistic Director, often of their own company. Continue reading Bodies of Thought→
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