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Gordon Campbell

Unwoven cloth made from the bast (inner bark) of a tree. It is also known as ‘tapa’, with reference to the Polynesian bark cloth made from the bark of the paper mulberry and used for clothing. There is a huge collection of Polynesian bark cloth in the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu. In sub-Saharan Africa bark cloth was traditionally decorated with free-hand painting applied with grass brushes, and was used for room-dividers and screens as well as clothing. Its widest application was in Japan, where bark cloth was used for windows, screens, kites, flags and umbrellas.

L. Terrell and J. Terrell: Patterns of Paradise: The Styles of Bark Cloth around the World (Chicago, 1980)M. J. Pritchard: Siapo: Bark Cloth Art of Samoa...


Jan Minchin

(Vladimir Jossif)

(b Vienna, Oct 13, 1920).

Israeli painter of Austrian birth, active in Australia. He grew up in Warsaw. His father, the pseudonymous Jewish writer Melech Ravitch, owned books on German Expressionism, which were an early influence. Conscious of rising anti-Semitism in Poland, Ravitch visited Australia in 1934 and later arranged for his family to settle there. Bergner arrived in Melbourne in 1937. Poor, and with little English, his struggle to paint went hand-in-hand with a struggle to survive. In 1939 he attended the National Gallery of Victoria’s art school and came into contact with a group of young artists including Victor O’Connor (b 1918) and Noel Counihan, who were greatly influenced by Bergner’s haunting images of refugees, hard-pressed workers and the unemployed, for example The Pumpkin-eaters (c. 1940; Canberra, N.G.). Executed in an expressionist mode using a low-toned palette, they were among the first social realist pictures done in Australia.

In 1941...



Sara Stevens

American architectural firm started by Arthur Gensler Drue Gensler, and Jim Follett in 1965 in San Francisco, CA. M. Arthur Gensler jr (b Brooklyn, New York, 1935) attended Cornell University to study architecture (BArch, 1957). The firm began doing build-outs for retail stores and corporate offices, and initially established itself in the unglamorous area of interior architecture. Thirty years later and without mergers or acquisitions, it had grown to become one of the largest architecture firms in the world, having pioneered the global consultancy firm specializing in coordinated rollouts of multi-site building programmes. By 2012 the firm had over 3000 employees in over 40 offices. From the beginning, Art Gensler conceived of a global firm with multiple offices serving corporate clients whose businesses were becoming more international. Instead of the ‘starchitect’ model of his contemporaries such as I. M. Pei or Paul Rudolph, Gensler wanted an ego-free office that existed to serve client needs, not pursue a designer’s aesthetic agenda at the client’s expense. By adopting new web-based computing technologies and integrated design software in the early 1990s, the firm stayed well connected across their many offices and were more able than their competitors to manage large multi-site projects. Expanding from the services a traditional architecture firm offers, the company pushed into new areas well suited to their information technology and interiors expertise, such as organizational design, project management, and strategic facilities planning....


Anthony Gardner

(b Singapore, July 12, 1959).

Malaysian conceptual artist, active also in Australia. Gill studied at the University of Western Sydney, completing her MA in 2001. Despite working in a range of media, she is best understood as a process-based artist who has consistently explored notions of migration and transformation within material culture. These include the effects of international trade on such everyday activities as cooking and eating. The spiral form of Forking Tongues (1992; Brisbane, Queensland A.G.), for example, entwines Western cutlery and dried chillies from the Americas and Asia, highlighting how foods and utensils from across the globe have come together to transform local cuisines and inform culinary habits. Gill’s later photographic series refer to other understandings of migration, such as the spread of the English language or of capitalist desire throughout South-east Asia in recent decades. For Forest (1998; Sydney, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery; see Chua), Gill cut out words and sentences from books written in English, placed the texts within tropical landscapes and photographed the results before the books’ paper began rotting into the humid environment. For ...


Rory Spence

American architects and designers, also active in Australia and India. Marion Mahony Griffin (née Mahony) (b Chicago, 14 Feb 1871; d Chicago, 10 Aug 1961) worked together with her husband Walter Burley Griffin (b Maywood, IL, 24 Nov 1876; d Lucknow, 11 Feb 1937) after their marriage in 1911. She was the second woman to graduate in architecture (1894) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and worked for Dwight Perkins (1867–1941) before joining Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio in 1895. There she produced many of the perspective drawings for Wright’s designs, including several of those used for the influential Wasmuth portfolio Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright (Berlin, 1910), which are among the finest architectural drawings of the 20th century. After Wright’s departure from Chicago in 1909, she assisted Hermann von Holst, who took over his practice. In Wright’s studio she also met Walter Burley Griffin, who had studied architecture (...


Nadia Tscherny

(b London, Oct 28, 1744; d Brixham, Devon, March 6, 1797).

English painter. He first attended classes at William Shipley’s Academy in the Strand, London, and from 1758 to 1765 was apprenticed to Richard Wilson (about whom he published a short biographical essay in 1790). Hodges followed Wilson’s classical landscape style periodically throughout his career, but, particularly during his travels, he also occasionally abandoned it in favour of freer handling, bolder juxtapositions of colour and a more empirical response to the natural world.

In 1765 Hodges joined the Incorporated Society of Artists and became a regular exhibitor. The Pantheon, Oxford Street, London (Leeds, C.A.G.), an important early example of his interest in architecture and effects of natural light, was exhibited in 1772, as were some views of Switzerland and Germany made from a trip across the Alps the previous year. In 1772 he travelled as the official artist on Capt. James Cook’s second voyage to the South Pacific. As the ...


Philip Stott, Miranda Bruce-Mitford, J. Dumarçay, Frederick Mathewson Denny, Jan Fontein, R. Soekmono, Helen Ibbitson Jessup, Victor T. King, Urs Ramseyer, Michael Hitchcock, Sheila S. Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom, John N. Miksic, Ruth Barnes, Mattiebelle Gittinger, Ward Keeler, Angela Hobart, Victoria M. Clara van Groenendael, Wolfgang Marschall, Bernard Arps, H. I. R. Hinzler, Sian E. Jay, Dawn F. Rooney, Robert S. Wicks, Daniëlle Grosheide and Lewis G. Hill

[formerly Dutch East Indies]

Country in South-east Asia comprising over 13,700 islands that extend in an arc straddling the equator, from Sumatra, west of Peninsular Malaysia, to the island of New Guinea, north of Australia (see fig.). Irian Jaya, the easternmost province of Indonesia, comprises the western half of the island of New Guinea; its population and cultures are Melanesian rather than Indonesian, and it is therefore treated elsewhere (see Irian Jaya). Kalimantan, in the centre of the archipelago, comprises most of the island of Borneo (the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, with Brunei, account for the remainder). The three next largest islands are Sumatra (see fig.), Sulawesi (Celebes) and Java (see fig.). Of the groups of smaller islands, the largest are Maluku (Moluccas)—a term formerly used to denote only the five small clove-producing islands of Tidore, Ternate, Motir, Makian and Bacan but now embracing all the islands between Sulawesi, Timor and Irian Jaya—and Nusa Tenggara (Lesser Sundas), a chain of islands stretching from Bali (...


Sarah Cook and Marialaura Ghidini

[net art]

Sarah Cook and Marialaura Ghidini

Art that uses the Internet not only as its tool of production and distribution but also as its source material or medium, and exploits or reflects the Internet’s inherently connective characteristics. While not a distinct art form or style, Internet art has been discussed in connection to the history of media art, predominantly through studies of the screen (see Bosma, 2013; Manovich, 2001) and the way things are framed, including still or moving images (see Video art and New media art in India). Internet art exceeds this narrow definition and its lineage can be better understood in the context of telecommunications, with a focus on information exchange and its occurrences through networked channels of transmission and their inherent politics. Because of this it is linked to Conceptual art practices, including intermedia art, Fluxus, and Correspondence art (such as the work of Knowles, Alison...


A. A. Gerbrands

[formerly West New Guinea; Western New Guinea; West Irian; Irian Barat]

Indonesian province, comprising the western half of New Guinea and surrounding islands, with a population of c. 2.7 million. Formerly a Dutch colony, it was administered by Indonesia under the authority of the United Nations from 1963 until 1969, when it was formally incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia. Culturally Irian Jaya is generally classified as Melanesian rather than Indonesian. Its art has been quite widely studied and illustrated (see bibliography). There are also a number of important museum collections, both in Irian Jaya itself (e.g. Agats, Asmat Mus. Cult. & Prog.) and in the West (e.g. New York, Mus. Primitive A.: Basle, Mus. Vlkerknd.; Amsterdam, Tropenmus.; Leiden, Rijksmus. Vlkenknd.).

A high mountain range divides Irian Jaya latitudinally into a mountainous northern part and, to the south, a flat, tropical lowland area characterized by vast marshes crossed by sluggish, muddy rivers and infested with mosquitoes and malaria. An inhospitable area, it is as difficult to access from the sea as from the mountainous interior. Perhaps as a result of the country’s physical geography, the cultures and ...


Anne Kirker

(b Sydney, 1964).

Australian draughtswoman, active in the USA. Of Iraqi descent, Khedoori was born and raised in Australia, going on to study at the San Francisco Art Institute where she was awarded a BFA in 1988, and then studying at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received an MFA in 1994. At a time when installation art and electronic media attracted many artists of her generation, Khedoori chose the medium of drawing as her preferred practice, tapping into the tactile, handcrafted realm of mark-making on paper. She worked on huge sheets of paper coated with transparent wax, creating unframed works that appear to float from the wall. Often two or three sheets are abutted to spread to 3.5×6 m or wider. A constant of these lineally inscribed, pared-back drawings is their iconography of wire-mesh pens, empty houses and streets, vacant overpasses and bridges, doors and seats. Only sometimes (and more often in her 21st-century works), did she refer to nature—such as using an abstract sweep of bars to indicate rain or a lightly rendered topographical view....


Alexander Spoehr

Group of sixteen islands, of which six are inhabited, in the western Pacific Ocean, c. 2250 km south of Japan. The islands comprise the US territory of Guam and the self-governing Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which has close ties with the USA. The islands are usually classified as Micronesian. The indigenous islanders, the Chamorros, were conquered by Spanish settlers in the 17th century, and the population subsequently declined drastically. During the 18th and 19th centuries the islands’ culture developed as an amalgam of Chamorro and Spanish elements, the latter coming mainly from Spain, but also from Mexico and the Philippines. In view of this early European domination, pre-Spanish Chamorro art in perishable materials has long disappeared. Since the earliest European accounts of the Marianas do not mention distinctive secular or religious material culture or art forms, it seems probable that Chamorro artistic expression was primarily channelled into functional design in the production of canoes, tools, pottery and other utilitarian objects. It seems that tattoo was not practised....


Australian, 20th century, male.

Born 1917.

Painter. Religious subjects, figures.

Sydney Group.

Justin Maurice O'Brien joined the medical corps of the Australian army at the start of World War II. In 1940 he was sent to Palestine, then Greece. During this period he began to paint - particularly faces - and made many sketches. He was taken prisoner and remained in Athens for seven months, before being transferred to Poland in December ...


Ian McLean


(b Springvale cattle station, Western Australia, 1935).

Australian Aboriginal painter. Peters is a member of the Gija-speaking peoples from the East Kimberley region in North-western Australia. The Gija painting movement began around 1980 at Turkey Creek (now Warmun) and Peters worked closely with this first generation of ochre painters for 20 years as an educator in indigenous cultural programmes. His painting career began in 1997 when he joined Jirrawun Arts—an innovative Gija collective established by the painter Freddie Timms (b 1946) with Artistic Director Tony Oliver. Their aim was to promote interaction between Gija and gardiya (non-Aborigines), and economic independence by marketing East Kimberley art directly to contemporary art galleries. Peters first exhibited in a group exhibition of Jirrawun art in 1998 and had his first solo exhibition the next year. From then on he exhibited regularly in Sydney and Melbourne, and his paintings have featured in several survey exhibitions.

Peters painted in the distinctive minimalist Turkey Creek manner made famous by his close friend ...


Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...


(b Tsing Tao, China, June 21, 1913; d Melbourne, Nov 18, 1992).

Australian architect of German origin. He was brought up in Germany but studied architecture at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zurich, under Otto Rudolf Salvisberg. He moved to Australia in 1938 and worked briefly for Stephenson & Turner before setting up in private practice. Romberg introduced analytical European Modernism to Australia with his ‘Newburn’ block of flats (1939–41), South Melbourne, where the flats were angled and staggered to gain views of a park while retaining privacy for each balcony. In his ‘Glenunga’ flats (1940–41), Malvern, Melbourne, he used Swiss Heimatstil elements, including random rubble stonework, a monopitch roof and exposed rafter ends, which paralleled Roy Groundss direct use of materials but was richer in form and texture. This ‘humanized’ Modernism had a significant influence on Australian architects in the late 1940s and 1950s, alongside that of Grounds. Romberg’s most celebrated work is the large ‘Stanhill’ block of flats (...


William Main

(b Keboemen, Indonesia, 1915; d Australia, Aug 1985).

New Zealand photographer and decorative artist of Dutch origin. He was educated in the Netherlands and in New Zealand, where he attended the Canterbury School of Fine Arts, Christchurch, in 1939. Shortly after this he gradually withdrew from Western cultural influences and began to draw upon Asian and Polynesian influences for his artistic inspiration. While attempting to trace early examples of Maori art he studied cave drawings in remote parts of New Zealand, and also photographed geothermal formations in the centre of North Island. Influenced by the Maori artist Pine Taiapa, he revived an almost forgotten Maori art form by decorating gourds with intricate moko designs. Finally, he took up the carving of jade ornaments, and his success in this work led to the publication of his book Jade Country (1973). Dissatisfied with the way his work was received, he left New Zealand to live in Indonesia and Australia....


Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel

The final decades of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed an increasing propensity for artists to incorporate aspects of science in their own art. In many fields of scientific research—including the cloning of mammals, the genetic modification of crops, the creation of bioengineered organs and tissues, advances in nanotechnology and robotics, experimental research in how the human mind works and the study of artificial intelligence—the frontiers of knowledge pushed outward at an accelerated pace. In the spirit of creative inquiry, or in order to critique the goals and outcomes of scientific experimentation and application, artists regularly borrowed subjects, tools and approaches from science as a means to the production of art ( see fig. ).

In documenting and assessing the achievements of visual artists engaged with science, there was no broad consensus on the categorisation of artists’ work across the full range of activities, methods, motivations and use of materials. Assessments of artistic practice focused on artists’ work categorised by the traditional fields of science (e.g. artists who explore biology, artists who explore physical sciences). Other analyses of artistic practice focused on categories of art media (e.g. artists who use traditional means such as carving and casting to represent scientific discoveries, artists who explore and employ biological materials and scientific instruments)....


Susie Lingham

(b Singapore, Nov 7, 1959).

Singapore-born installation artist, active in Australia . A recipient of numerous scholarships, Victor graduated from the University of Western Sydney with a BA Honours (1997) and an MA Honours (2000). Victor’s career ranged from prize-winning painter in the late 1980s, to ‘subversive’ in the early 1990s, and eventually to internationally esteemed artist with prestigious public art commissions to her name. Victor’s themes revolve around a critique of power and its subversion, sexuality and desire, notions of abjection and the cultural aftermath of post-colonialism in South-east Asia. Her work operates from a sophisticated, idiosyncratic aesthetic that runs counter to the dematerializing, technological trend of contemporary conceptual art. A key feature in her works is movement, achieved through mechanisms, engaging the viewer both physiologically and psychologically. The dynamic conflation of theatrical images, sumptuous materiality, movement, and multi-tiered concepts epitomizes Victor’s oeuvre.

As artistic director of 5th Passage Artists Ltd, an initiative established in Singapore (...


Claire Roberts

(b Beijing, Dec 19, 1957).

Chinese painter and installation artist, active also in Australia. Guan Wei graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at Beijing Capital University in 1986 and worked as a teacher in a secondary school while pursuing his own experimental artistic practice. In 1989 he was invited to Australia as artist-in-residence at the Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart. Following the Tiananmen massacre on 4 June 1989 Guan Wei returned to Australia and undertook further artistic residencies in Tasmania, Sydney (1992–3) and Canberra (1993–4). In 1993 he was granted permanent residence and in 1999 held a solo exhibition at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Guan Wei is descended from a noble Manchu family. His father was a Peking Opera performer and Guan Wei acknowledges his underlying influence in the gesture and humour that permeates his art. Two Finger Exercise (1989), a series of works on paper with accompanying dialogue, was Guan Wei’s response to the Tiananmen massacre. In these works figures make the ‘V’ for victory sign in a series of tragic–comic riffs on the exuberant hope of student demonstrators. They combine text, wit and a sophisticated social and political commentary, the hallmarks of Guan Wei’s art. After ...


Ah Xian  

Claire Roberts

[Liu Jixian]

(b Beijing, May 7, 1960).

Chinese multimedia artist, active also in Australia. Ah Xian is a self-taught artist. He grew up during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) and spent his early years in the relatively privileged environment of Beijing’s Science and Engineering University, where his parents worked. He trained as a mechanical fitter and worked in a factory, pursuing art on his own time. In the late 1970s he began to associate with avant-garde poets, writers and artists including members of The Stars, a non-official art group demanding freedom of artistic expression. Because his experimental works of art incorporating naked figures were considered at the time to be spiritually polluting, he was subject to routine surveillance by the Public Security Bureau.

Ah Xian first travelled to Australia in 1989 as a visiting artist at the Tasmanian School of Art. He returned the following year, after the Tiananmen massacre (4 June 1989), and in ...