I have been working on my memetic response to drawing. Photos and videos of me hanging out the washing have been taken and I have used each in different ways.



This is the house worker hanging out the washing.


I superimposed a grid here for reference. Remember I didn’t study art at highschool.

( I had a small accident with the ink later.)

This was what I came up with.


Longer legs and a mini skirt! Deeply unappealing.


Using blind contour, a more interesting drawing. Hanging out the washing or tied to a wall?



Its my day off and I’m working on my art subject. Memesis.

I like Claude Heath.

He says…

“When you follow the movements of a football across a flat TV screen you sometimes have the sensation that the ball is going in a certain direction when it turns out to have a different arc altogether and ends up at the feet of a different player than you had first thought. Its true movements are hidden by the flatness of the screen until it arrives at some particular part of the pitch. This same kind of sensation sometimes happens while drawing, when you attempt to compress the sight and touch of a solid object onto various parts of a flat surface”.  – Claude Heath (Centre for Drawing, October 2001)


I drew my chickens using his methods for Introduction to Drawing. It was very liberating. The marks were  different depending what time of the day I drew them. When they were active my drawings were more abstract. When they were quieter, the drawings were pleasingly lifelike in a plump chickeny way. The memesis was fine. I knew they were chickens. I’m worried about how my drawings look. Abstraction is very attractive. Sometimes though it can be unappealing. It seems a lottery as to which type of drawing one ends up with.

Words are like that too. I like the name Jim very much but don’t like Tim at all. They are both plosive beginnings but Jim seems a strong name and Tim seems to me weak and unmanly. Liver is a beautiful word to say but is difficult to like due to its meaning. River is nearly as nice but not quite.

I will try and take a video of myself hanging out the washing and then draw it, Claude Heath style.


I like the shadow art of Noble and Webster.





1 wooden stepladder, discarded wood, light projector

78.5 x 403.5 x 224 cm (31 x 1587/8 x 883/16 in)




Blindfold painting series 2013-2014

Painted while blindfolded! Hoping no knives involved.

People form The Atlas Society look away now! ( see Words 21.03.2016) This is exciting! This is a nice drawing to look at. The mimesis is minimal. It means someone like me who has little mimetic talent can create something attractive and more interesting than a bad reproduction of reality.  Shallow I know. Forgive me Ayn Rand.

Painted with feet!


The Nosey, 2014Painted with feet

Indian ink on paper

Diptych, each: 140 x 100 cm (551/8 x 393/8 in)

Seriously I dont know what to think of this in light of the cards my mother in law buys from http://www.mfpa.com.au/

Different outlook completely.



My google search ” is art about beauty or intellectualism” threw up some interesting articles. The first (!) was offered by the Atlas Society who believe

“Ayn Rand’s philosophical works (sic) have been praised as presenting historic breakthroughs in thinking. At the Atlas Society, our scholars work to further develop this philosophy born in the mid-twentieth century. We present the empowering principles of Objectivism to a global audience, and offer those principles as a rational and moral alternative in the marketplace of philosophical ideas.”

I did read this and have posted my reflections in my Words theme.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” Sun Tzu

I also looked at an extract of the book  Beyond Pleasure:  Freud, Lacan, Barthes by Margaret Iversen. I will post a refection on this soon.



I’m exploring the other side…

Why Art Became Ugly June 2010 Stephen Hicks

Stephen Hicks is a professor of philosophy at Rockford College in Illinois. He is the author of Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy Publishing, 2004). This article apppeared in the September 2004 issue ofNavigator magazine, and is based on lectures given at the Foundation for the Advancement of Art’s “Innovation, Substance, Vision” conference in New York (October 2003) and the Rockford College Philosophy Club’s “The Future of Art” panel (April 2004).

This was an interesting read. A polemic, as expected, but the paragraph below, was weird, especially as the article was written after the Global Financial Crisis, caused by the deregulation of the banking system in an aggressive capitalist economy.

“We are brutally aware of the horrible disasters of National Socialism and international Communism, and art has a role in keeping us aware of them. But we would never know from the world of art the equally important fact that those battles were won and brutality was defeated.”


The argument propounded is that Modernism died in the 1970’s due to staleness.

The argument goes that Modernism’s “scepticism and irrationalism” and quest for truth replaced art’s goals of beauty and originality executed by a “skilled master of his craft”. (So only High Art created by men.)

Hicks says that Modernism was about the truth that life was ugly and horrible. (Didn’t Malthus say that in 1798?) He says that, yes, traditional artists

“had believed the world to be ugly and horrible—but they had used the traditional realistic forms of perspective and color to say this. The innovation of the early modernists was to assert that form must match content. Art should not use the traditional realistic forms of perspective and color because those forms presuppose an orderly, integrated, and knowable reality.”


What follows is an interesting summary of modern art evolving so that form and content follow subject matter, reductionism “to eliminate the third dimension, composition, color, perceptual content, and the sense of the art object as something special.”

Malevich’s White on White gets a look in.

Post modernism

Hicks says post modernism reintroduced content but only if it was:

  1. Ironic and self-reverential. (Whoops, sorry Churchie Art Prize). It also
  2. Deconstructed traditional categories eg mix styles to destroy “stylistic integrity”. Hicks says post modernists
  3. Only allow content statements to be made about social reality and not natural or objective reality. ( Not sure if I can follow the author here, I suppose he thinks everything is seen from the personal perspective. He doesn’t like this.)
  4. Lastly post modernism is about ruthless nihilism.

The view from 2016, the hottest year on record, is that Hicks is shooting the messenger. He wants art to stop being negative.

He ends

“The point is not to return to the 1800s or to turn art into the making of pretty postcards. The point is about being a human being who looks at the world afresh. In each generation there are only a few who do that at the highest level. That is always the challenge of art and its highest calling.

The world of postmodern art is a run-down hall of mirrors reflecting tiredly some innovations introduced a century ago. It is time to move on.”



Hicks,S. (15.06.2010) Why Art Became Ugly. The Atlas Society, Retrieved from  http://atlassociety.org/students/students-blog/3671-why-art-became-ugly


Images of the drawing made in class 15.03.2016

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This is the finished product. Interesting method. I would have to do many of these drawings to come up with something that I like.

I need to experiment with my drawing technique. It is very disappointing.

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Addition of the model, Sarah.

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Drawing Bill with shadows.

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Drawing Bill. My slide.


I am finally free to post some thoughts about mimesis.

I purchased a framed poster of this painting by Kazimir Malevich from a rundown op shop in Yamba, a sleepy coastal village a few years ago, for only two dollars. I repainted the frame and now the picture hangs in my home.

Robert Hughes introduced me to Malevich, as a pre-teen, in the 1970’s with his book and then television program “The Shock of the New”. I was genuinely shocked indeed, that his painting Black Square could be considered Art. It seemed to be a joke; it appeared to be made without artistic skill, it was not attractive, it did not represent the corporeal world. Hughes claimed it was an intellectual or philosophical statement.

Fast forward 30 years. We are in Paris’ Pompidou Centre with our three children, the youngest of whom was staring intently at Suprematist Composition: White On White, 1918, by Malevich. She was very excited, as she had then and there decided which painting to reproduce in her year 7 art class. The assignment asked the students to reproduce a famous art work and write about it.

All three children thought the painting was a joke, without artistic merit. I mentioned what I remembered about Malevich. They were unconvinced.

( My daughter decided on this Mondrian. She didn’t quite nail the crisp lines.)




I bought this cup from the Gallery Shop after visiting the Warhol Ai WeiWei exhibition in Melbourne recently. It reads “MODERN ART = I COULD DO THAT+ YEAH, BUT YOU DIDNT”

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I see the artistic impulse, as expressed in drawing, to be part of the human condition. To be able to faithfully reproduce a good likeness of the object being drawn is a skill, a “technical proficiency” says Petherbridge,  but as she explains ,

“The belief that to draw an object in the world – take a likeness, as it used to be phrased – is an act of appropriation that goes beyond words in Western art strengthens this materialist understanding of drawing-as-mimetic-skill.” (Petherbridge, 2010, p. 12)

I am grateful to Petherbridge for her clear writing style. It is comforting for someone who lacks this mimetic skill to read about the concept of “the thoughtful hand”, borrowed by Petherbridge from Heidegger. Petherbridge discusses the  distinction between mechanical skills and the thoughtful process of “praxis”  which seems to include an element of empathy.

I read a book called “Empathy and the Novel” by Suzanne Keen, some time ago. Her thesis is that novel reading makes the reader more empathetic and more likely to do good deeds. Novel reading increased among the Western populace around the time of the enlightenment and the surge of secular thought, individualism and the rise of democracy.

Maybe modern art, with its de-emphasis on mimetic skill and the privileging of dysgraphia as a valued means of democratisation of  art making, also relies on altruism and empathy. Petherbridge claims it. I think its more a response to the increased value society places on individualism.

Petherbridge quotes Norma Broude at length (I’m still on page 12), who says that its possible and essential to “identify an artist’s original intention”.

I agree to a point, but it means a huge leap off the plinth of Plato’s ideal beautiful object and ends up at he 2015 Churchie Art Prize, where the curators notes were lengthy and self reverential, overwhelming the art. At least David Walsh’s MONA “art wank” notes are funny.

I purchased a painting from an artist friend some years ago and praised her for its beautiful abstract lines. I found it very attractive. She said in a deadpan voice that she had painted it in response to her father’s death.

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I could see then how important it was to know this to understand the painting. As Norma Broude says ” …we will never fully comprehend the fragility of  artistic intention…if we deny ourselves this historical starting point: the artist’s conception of his or her own unique intention…” (p. 12).

My question is:

Does knowing my friend’s impetus for making the painting, increase my enjoyment of the piece? In my case; no. It makes it a bit creepy. I just liked it look of it, the sweeping gestures and the colours. I like high contrast.

I cant help thinking though that I’m asking the wrong question.

Petherbridge, D. (2010). The Primacy of Drawing: Histories and Theories of Practice. London and New Haven,: Yale University Press.








Adelaide Biennial 2016

Tom Moore

“Made initially as a drawing, and then blown and hot worked in glass…Plant-birds, tree-cars, flaming-pickles and potato-fish confuse the animal, mineral and vegetable. They charm us but also reveal a world at risk.”


Is this a drawing?

No. I don’t think so.