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The artist Vincent Van Gogh —90 , who was deeply influenced by Japanese prints, immortalized his own dark struggle as a kind of night vortex in his painting Starry Night , while more recently the artist Anish Kapoor created a black vortex aptly titled Descension , that seems to reach deep to the centre of the Earth. Chishaku-in, Kyoto, c. The landscapes echoed in the Japanese garden are not romantic places, but raw, beautiful places of otherwise unimaginable austerity, where inconsolable loneliness and desolation play out scenes of fear, grief and abandonment.

Courtauld Impressionists review – here is the tumult, wonder, beauty and terror of modern life

Such are the spaces of Japanese design. Canopy Artspace first opened for the Cairns Art Fair. Paloma Ramos who works at Editions Tremblay vividly decribes the intense and fertile work in printmaking and sculpture that happens at Canopy. Lecturer in the Australian Indigenous Studies program at the University of Melbourne, Odette Kelada describes her visit to the National Gallery of Australia's new Indigenous galleries and the National Portrait Gallery that is just next door and views them as sites of contemporary Frontier warfare.

Melbourne-based Ben McKeown was the overall winner of the Victorian Indigenous Art Award with a mysterious photograph called Untitled of an Aboriginal man concealing hinself behind two heavy boomernags. McKeown's artwork is inspired by a quest for belonging, by the genealogical researches of the anthropologist Norman Tindale, by the city and the suburbs. Freelance curator, honorary associate of Museum Victoria and Blandowski-ite from way back John Kean analyses this prickly Prussian polymath's Illustrated Encyclopedia on Australia at last brought together and to light by the efforts of New Zealander Harry Allen.

I hate the word brand. People have forgotten the importance of sub-culture. We are a community and an intervention. Dutch art historian Marianne Riphagen, whose PhD looked at contemporary Indigenous photo-media artists, draws togther the dark and light in the artwork of Rembrandt and South Australia-based Darren Siwes to question the Dutch Golden Age.

Christian Thompson who is one of the two inaugural Charlie Perkins Scholars at Oxford University writes about this experience and how it makes him think of his upbringing and the responsibility it entails. This is something you feel as an inherent responsibility when you meet people daily from all around the world, whose communities are facing similar hardships and the symptoms of the ravages of colonisation; time is of the essence. Artlink's UK contributing editor Jo Higgins interviewed Melbourne-born London gallerist Rebecca Hossack about her Indigenous art program and her attempts to raise its profile in London.

She has two galleries and each summer for three months both galleries show only Australian Indigenous art in her Songlines series. Recently Elcho Island art featured.

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Fiona Foley's recent public work has gone from strength to strength most recently at Mackay where her six large new works form a trail commemorating the Pacific and black history of the region. Larissa Behrendt writes about both soothing and painful installations and paintings by Jason Wing that explore his Chinese and Aboriginal roots. Dina Ibrahim looks at the Joe Rootsey Retrospective curated by Bruce McLean at the Queensland Art Gallery in to find an artist who in his short life achieved compelling evocations of his relationship to country.

Artist and curator Una Rey tells the moving story of the life and work of Tiwi artist Maryanne Mingatopi. On one hand his de-populated paintings are figurative in the proclaimed absences see Fig. Even when his characters are in a state of action as portrayed in The Gathering this huge crowd is necessarily comprised of individuals that are not connecting with each other despite walking together behind a banner that might have unified them.

The shock occurs when he manages to combine both worlds seamlessly.

The Road is a case in point. This magical road, emanating all the colours of the sky-blue, pink, yellow, red and green, seems to be traveling to infinity within the natural world or nowhere into town. Despite the throng of people moving snail-like beneath it the impression is one of absence, of space- desolate urban space- the people secondary to the buildings that appear more individualized than they.

Their colourful, pastel luminosity dominates the scene. Similarly the still life that is the foreground to The Young Couple , and the smaller painting with its fruit, candles and TV controller have a vivacity that has left the people, engaged always it seems with either melancholic stares of disengagement or lost in a revelry that cannot, it seems, be accommodated in the outside world. The odalisque character on the couch, lounging in a Matisse guise, is also a still life but without the animation of the objects in front of her.


A vision of urban life as alienated is given a personalized experience in On the Balcony the protagonist has her back to the outside world aglow with buildings which have an aggressive presence serving to further underline the unhappiness or disengagement of the person. Working Back is a disturbing painting with the intensities of lights emerging from the sea and the sky outside, a cruel contrast with the offices within where workers are inanimate staring things.

It is a mysterious fact for me that the Matassoni paintings that are most filled with human activity are the ones where they are absent. The piece in this exhibition that transfixes is Federation Square where the buildings take undeniable ascendancy. The smaller paintings in the exhibition have an intimate European sensibility.

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Clearly finished pieces in themselves, these refined perceptions are carried into the larger works. Six of them are studies of the melancholic personality looking out to sea, looking at nothing in particular or simply being relentlessly alone. Alongside these people are the landscapes that suggest there is, despite the isolation , always choice and those choices, it is suggested, are best made away from town down pathways of other possibilities.

These are indeed philosophical paintings alerting us to our terror and our joy. Fig 5, Terry Matassoni, Flinders Street.

The Secret Beauty, Terror, and Power of Japanese Gardens

Fig 8, Terry Matassoni, The Road. Fig 9. Terry Matassoni, The Young Couple.

Fig 10, Terry Matassoni, On the Balcony. Fig 11,Terry Matassoni, Working Back. Fig 12, Terry Matassoni, Federation Square. Melancholic Wonderlands. Deakin University. Works by John Forrest and Terry Matassoni John Forrest and Terry Matassoni construct worlds that give us immediate access into places and environments that each knows well.