I remember when I was growing up being fortunate enough to live in a place with a state run Art Gallery, part of a cultural quarter in the centre of Perth, Western Australia. It was a large, modern building, a cool retreat from the blindingly hot summer and unforgiving light, spacious, expansive and full of exciting discoveries. You could walk in at any time and see a selection of Western Australian Artists, Australian Artists and the latest international touring blockbuster. In those walls I saw my first Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Albert Tucker, Charles Blackman and so many others.
One of the images that left its mark was Howard Taylor’s 1959 Double Self Portrait, an image that I kept being magnetically drawn to and still am. It is an arresting image, an uncompromising eternal stare and a frame within a frame for seeing the world. It introduced me to the idea of images as windows to the wider world and into ourselves. Whatever the medium and whatever the age, great Art alters our perception somehow. It’s what I hope for every time I go to a show, that spark of recognition and an expansion of what I thought I knew.
I hope that as this blog unfolds it will celebrate shifts in perception and unsung heroes; artists who help us see and discover the world anew, from blazing impasto canvases, cast bronze and painting with light, to the black out illumination of the cinema.