Saturday, January 19, 2008

pinky period

Much excitement in the Rotto Bloggo fortified compound this week: another primo boffo publication was added to the special-interest bookshelves.

Ted Snell’s ‘The Artist’s Rottnest’ was published in 1988 by Fremantle Arts Centre Press and has oodles of Rottnest art. The cover of this softcover has a Guy Grey-Smith oil called – what else – Rottnest. This has never been one of our favourite Grey-Smiths (the lurid primary colours recall how Tom Ripley was repelled by Dickie Greenleaf’s Mongibello daubings) but the Wadjemup lighthouse is recognisable in the background.

The earliest artistic rendering in the book is Victor Victorszoon’s coastal profile ‘t eylant ‘t Rottenest: a watercolour and ink on paper he dashed off when he was on the Geelvinck with de Vlamingh.

The wreck of the City of York in 1899 attracted the attention of an Aboriginal prisoner: the pencil, watercolour and gouache effort on paper is in the WA Museum collection. Around about the same time Henry Charles Prinsep did a much more cheerful watercolour, Rottnest Along Thomson’s Bay, c1890s.

Some of the artists could paint the same thing today. Iris Francis’ Rottnest from 1950 is a view of a fig tree on Vincent Way.

As with Flickr photos, so too with art. Lots of people have a go at Thomson Bay or the view from a villa window or life on the rocks. But not all of them. The Snell book is a must.

Our favourite? Ashley Jones’ Vacant Implacement, a 1978 acrylic on canvas. It has a touch of the Smart about it. As Snell says: “A well-known Western Australian ‘photo-realist’, Jones has produced a number of paintings and drawings that investigate the lure of Rottnest and its less immediately recognised rituals and pleasures.”

No comments:

Post a Comment