I know what you’re thinking: “Today is National Deviled Egg Day!” You’re right, but there aren’t as many deviled eggs in the world of art as you may think. Instead, let me direct your attention to the Melbourne Cup race, which is also today! I didn’t care about the Melbourne Cup at all until I watched “Ride Like a Girl” on Netflix (I highly recommend it, you guys!) PSA: The horses to watch this year are Twilight Payment, English King, and Verry Elleegant. If you’re the betting sort.
In honor of the Australian race, let’s check out some Australian artists!
- John Olsen: In reading about Olsen, I got the feeling he’s just always been famous. Like he was born a famous painter 93 years ago and has been ever since. His kids seem to have been bitten by the art bug too. His son is a successful art dealer, one daughter is a painter in her own right, another was a designer before passing away. It wasn’t all family fingerpainting and wholesome pictionary nights though. The family had their fair share of obstacles, you can read about this article, if you’re interested. We’re here for the art though, and the paintings emerging from John Olsen’s studio are noted as the best in Australia.
2. If we’re talking about Australian artists, the world wide web insists I mention Sidney Nolan. I don’t know if he intended for his paintings to be funny, but I can’t help but find them humorous. His most famous work is a series of Ned Kelly paintings. Don’t know who Ned Kelly is? Me neither. He was a bushranger. Don’t know what a bushranger is? Me neither. They were escaped convicts, surviving in the outback. Outback outlaws, basically. I think Ned Kelly was like the Jesse James of Austalia. Nolan painted such an expansive series of Ned Kelly paintings, they could practically make up a comic book. Nolan lived through the Great Depression and agonized over his involvement in WWII. He had no shortage of inspiration for his art, but he most loved the Australian landscape and local history. It’s no wonder he’s noted as an Australian great.
3. After stuffing my eyeballs with tons of Australian art and tearing my clothes and gnashing my teeth, I picked Margaret Preston to highlight as our third and last Australian artist du jour, but I’m going to give you a list of honorable mentions if you’re feeling saucy about the Aussies and really want to dive in to their art like a scuba diver at the Coral Reef. You know still-lifes aren’t my favorite, but something about how Preston painted flower arrangements makes me all warm and fuzzy. I love the bright flowers, and the unique touches she takes the time to include. For instance, in Anemones, I am completely enamored with the pitcher the flowers are in. Where are those houses, what inspired her to include them, and why are they so close together?!
Happy Melbourne Cup Day! Here’s the answer to the question we all really want to know: The horses run counterclockwise in the Melbourne Cup as they do at the Kentucky Derby. See here for more info.
As promised, here are some Honorable Mentions: Albert Namatjira (his landscapes are beautiful!); Ben Quilty (if you’re into disfiguration, check him out); Fiona Hall (her sardine can sculptures are chef’s kiss! Mwah!)