Modern Art in South Australia 1-10

The series Modern Art in South Australia concluded with the recent publication of Adelaide Art Photographers c.1970-2000, which was launched with an accompanying exhibition just before lockdown for the Covid-19 pandemic in Adelaide.

The book and copies of other books in the series (that have not sold out) are available from the Royal SA Society of Arts and Pepper Street Gallery shop.

Some books in the series are also available from the Art Gallery of South Australia bookshop – you can always order titles there too.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Modern Quartet!


Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz, Bush, 1951 Adelaide, oil on canvas. Photograph by Graeme Hastwell.

Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz – MODERNIST QUARTET!

Charles Darwin didn’t operate with “spirituality” or the “Mind” – he left this for philosophy. Freud, in his psychoanalysis, studied the artist and his relation to fantasy. Van Gogh and Chagall were labelled as mad, and accused by critics of not being able to draw. All four were considered mad. In fact, the first two dealt with “Science fiction”, the second [two] “Abstraction”.

Human beings have always needed belief systems and icons. This brings out a structure in life for the simple human mind. Art serves precisely the same purpose. Every visual form brought into reality by an artist can be named according to a style. I couldn’t be attracted to abstraction unless I knew it was possible for human beings to create new things. My knowledge of Darwin, who put equal value on all life, provided the foundation for a shift in perception from human-centred consciousness.

Even the question of life on other planets is of interest to the imagination of artists. In today’s education system more visual conceptions are introduced, from simple geometry to computers, telescopes and microscopes. There is more emphasis on the visual side of culture in everyday life. If the complexity of eternity is camouflaged by religious concepts of all kinds, then symbolism is central to these representations.

To me, in my student days, to accept the story in the Bible of Moses’ vision of the burning bush was a symbol of God. This form of abstraction, in terms of thinking, took me ages to portray in my painting. It is difficult for a materialist to understand the concept of fire in someone’s vision, the connection of inner and outer. Perhaps Freud was able to explain this better.

Moses – seeing god as a cloud of fire, to lead [people] out of the desert – Darwin, Freud, Van Gogh, Chagall – in a kind of “Lucidum Intervale” … to the Promised Land.

To emphasise the circumstances of the science-arts axis in the 19th century, every one of them was “new” or engendered in that era. But in the 20th century the world became conceited, vast and full of motion. The world rushes on. Man went to the moon and returned. Today the sky, even space is not empty.

This quartet of individuals lived with great vision in a time of darkness. But they and many others opened up the darkness to a new dawn. Darwin didn’t talk of “mankind” but “organism”. Only the artists showed us by imagining those creatures that man is not made of glass. So “Heaven will come down to earth”.

Did they sacrifice all their knowledge and experience for us? I have no idea. All I know is that within the four walls of my life they were a window for me. For me, this quartet initiated humanism and introduced the change from “Romanticism”. They were able to transcend the socially imposed limits to reach acute knowledge and forms or ideas which cannot be compared with earlier creations of the 19th century. [This is a beautiful time].

The two scientists did not know the two artists, but all their actions and creativity were strongly criticised in the [early 20th] century. Why did I sculpt a portrait of Darwin or paint a picture “For Stravinsky”? To compare music and the abundance in our visual world I could find an abundance of Polish adjectives. The pluralistic culture of the world will continue. The size of a person’s vocabulary and the degree of comprehension does nor matter.

Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz
Kalori, vol. 30, no. 2 (Winter 1992) np.
(NB – slight edits to the original text by Adam in square brackets)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Songs from Cold Mountain

SFCM cover

Songs from Cold Mountain
307 Poems by Chinese poet Han Shan (8-9th C)
In standard Chinese and English, trans. by Span Hanna
Introduction by the translator, with Pronunciation Guide
Appendices and Bibliography
352 pp, standard paperback (230 x 150 mm)

No one knows who Han Shan was. The name means “Cold Mountain”, after
the place where he lived, under a crag in the mountains of Zhejiang Province,
near the town of Tiantai. He was a recluse, avoiding visitors (as he frequently
tells us in his poems), but from time to time visiting the large monastery of
Guoqing Si (Kuo-ch’ing Ssu) at Tiantai, where he was befriended by two
monks, Feng Gan (Feng Kan) and Shi De (Shih Te). Legend has it that he
scrawled his poems on random surfaces: rocks, trees, the walls of houses.
Someone collected them, and the body of work has been retained. His life is
tentatively (but convincingly) dated around 720 – 810 CE.

In January 1991 Span Hanna was travelling in eastern China, and noticed
there was a Han Shan Temple nearby. He caught a bus and while in the area
found a bookshop where he bought some books, among them a complete
collection of Han Shan’s poems. It was a 1988 reprint by Guanghua Temple
(Putian, Fujian Province) of an older edition dated c.1932.

The book went home with him, and in June 2014 he decided to read it
formally, from beginning to end, and attempt to translate it, partly a project
to keep his Chinese skills alive, and partly also to share the work with a few
close friends who could not read Chinese but had some appreciation and
understanding of Chinese poetry and philosophy. This volume is a result of
those endeavours.

Cover image:
Unknown artist
Depiction of Han Shan Te’-Ch’ing, 1600

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Doreen Goodchild

Doreen Goodchild-Cover-OBH-Mk2-frontcover-Sc1

In One Small Measure Judith Brooks, an artist herself and Doreen Goodchild’s daughter, presents a lively account of her mother’s life as an artist in Adelaide and beyond, from the years immediately after World War One until the last years of the 20th century.
The monograph is presented to coincide with a retrospective of the art of her parents, Doreen and John Goodchild, for History Month at the Royal South Australian Society of Arts Gallery in Adelaide in 21 April – 12 May 2019. John Goodchild was President of the Society 1937– 40 and Doreen was the inaugural Secretary of the Society’s Sketch Club, founded in 1923.

Judith Brooks was born in 1936 in Adelaide. She grew up observing their lives as artists and later in life became an artist herself, exhibiting regularly in venues such as Kensington Gallery. She wrote a self-published book on her father after his death, in the early 1980s, with much of the research compiled by her mother, the subject of this book.

The monograph is published by the Royal SA Society of Arts.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

100th Anniversary Exhibition – Part Two


Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz, Design for Adelaide Festival 1968


2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the Polish-born artist Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz’s birth. A commemorative exhibition of 40 works was mounted at Murray Bridge Regional Gallery in May-June 2018. Although a large exhibition, it was thought more could be shown – hence this second exhibition of another forty works – large, medium and small paintings, watercolours, drawings and sculpture – at Royal SA Society of Arts Gallery in Adelaide.

The exhibition is to be opened by Christine Garnaut, Associate Professor, Planning and Architectural History and Director, Architecture Museum, School of Art, Architecture and Design at University of South Australia on Sunday 20 January 2019 at 2 pm.

There will also be a book launch by arts writer Samela Harris of Adam Dutkiewicz’s latest monograph on the Adelaide sculptor Andrew Steiner OAM, Past President and Honorary Life Member of the Society. Steiner was a long-time friend of Wlad’s, getting to know him through his amateur theatrical group The Art Studio Players. Steiner acted in Wlad’s second production, Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths, presented as a fringe production for the inaugural Adelaide Festival in 1960. Samela’s father, Max Harris, described it as a “theatrical tour de force”.

Adam is also making a limited edition of his biography of his father available as a paperback for the first time throughout the exhibition. It will be available from the Society and the publisher for $60 plus postage and handling.

2019 also marks the 20th anniversary of the artist’s passing.

WDutkiewicz-Twenty Centuries-1988-Sc2


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz


Peter Medlen, Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz 1962, gelatin-silver photograph

Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz (b. 1918 Stara Sol, Poland) was a painter, sculptor, writer, actor, stage designer and theatre director. After arriving in Adelaide in 1950 he was first noticed for his set designs for plays. He made a strong impact on art in South Australia with his forceful expressionist paintings and experimental and innovative modes of abstraction. In the 1950s and 1960s he was widely regarded as a leader of the lively modern art movement in Adelaide.
By the decade’s end he was included in publications on Australian art and international exhibitions in London and a little later Beverly Hills. After suffering head injuries in a car accident in 1956 he was forced to give up painting for a few years to recover his memory and colour vision. He formed the Art Studio Players, working with The Method from 1959-62 and producing several plays for the company, and directed two plays for the Adelaide University Theatre Guild, in 1959 and 1967. He later appeared as an actor in several Crawford Production television dramas in Melbourne.
He held over 40 solo exhibitions in Adelaide and other capital cities, and participated in over 100 exhibitions overall.  He continued painting until his death in Adelaide in 1999. Three survey exhibitions have been mounted since his death. A monograph was published in 2006 and a full biography in 2013, available through; it was released in paperback in 2019.

WDutkiewicz-Twenty Centuries-1988-Sc2



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

100th Anniversary Exhibition


Opened on 5 May 2018 at 2.30 pm. Opening speaker: Dr Christine Nicholls, Senior Lecturer, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University.

An exhibition of work by the late Polish-Australian artist Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz (1918-1999).

Wlad was trained in Poland and Paris, was a partisan in World War Two, and fled to freedom ahead of the advancing Red Army in 1945. He spent four years in a Displaced Persons’ camp in Hohenfels, Bavaria, before migrating to Australia in 1949. He settled in Adelaide in 1950 and lived there until his death.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Adam Dutkiewicz, the artist’s second son, who is a prominent Adelaide art historian and publisher of small press editions on local art and artists.  It presents a selection of around 40 works from the family collection and on loan from private collections and the Art Gallery of South Australia.

The exhibition is part of the 2018 History Festival and is proudly supported by the Royal SA Society of Arts, Inc. The exhibition concluded on 10 June 2018.


A second part to this exhibition was held at the Royal South Australian Society of Arts Gallery from 20 January – 10 February 2019. Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz: Adelaide Modernist, featuring an entirely different set of oils, watercolours and drawings, and was opened by Associate Professor Christine Garnaut, Planning and Architectural History, and Director, Architecture Museum, School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia.
A paperback edition of Adam’s biography of the artist – Wladyslaw Dutkiewicz: A Partisan for Art – was produced for the exhibition.

Christine Nicholls’ 6-page article on the 100th Anniversary Exhibition was published in Asian Art News 28, no. 4 (2018), pp. 52-57.







Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

SJ Ostoja-Kotkowski


Joseph Stanislaw Ostoja-Kotkowski (1922-1994) – Untitled, c.1958, Arbroath Stirling, oil on canvas – 97 x 115.5 cm. Private Collection. Photograph courtesy of Leonard Joel, Melbourne.

Some time ago I photographed the above work, an abstract in oil by the late artist Stan Ostoja-Kotkowski (1927-1994)  in a  private collection in Adelaide.  Since then, a number of new things by the artist have come into my in-tray via email and Facebook.

One of the impressive items was a mural that had been left intact since 1960, in a house that had gone up for sale. This was very similar to work I had seen 20 years ago that was presented as part of the 6th Australian Architectural Convention Exhibition (6AACE) held in Botanic Park, Adelaide, in 1956. Stan was well known in Adelaide for his murals in hotels and restaurants, and his murals and bas-relief sculptures became very sought after in bars, hotels and corporate offices in South Australia and beyond.

Stan was also an impressive sculptor and photographer. Some years ago I worked at Flinders University Art Museum at Bedford Park SA accessioning work from a large collection of graphics, photographs and documentary material that was left to the Museum. It also included numerous oil paintings and examples of transitional works as he moved away from oils to plastics and electronic technologies, in op art and what would become his multimedia art that incorporated electronics, photography, light and laser projection and sometimes human performance. One of those images was incorporated into his profile that I included in my collaboration with Gary Sauer-Thompson in 2016, titled Abstract Photography: Re-evaluating visual poetics in Australian modernism and contemporary practice (Moon Arrow Press, 2016).

Around 2000 I managed to save a mural that had been installed in the international terminal at Adelaide airport – with the cooperation of the airport’s management, I managed to secure the work on permanent loan to Flinders University, with the help of the then Directors of the Museum, Doreen Mellor then Gail Greenwood. After negotiations, the mural was installed in the foyer of the IT Building on campus.

I recently found another example of Ostoja’s oil painting style from the late 1950s in Adelaide:


Joseph Stanislaw Ostoja-Kotkowski (1922-1994) – Abstract, 1962 Arbroath Stirling,  oil – 120 x 90cm. Private collection.

An amusing historical video exists that captures this artists experimental activities in Adelaide in 1962:

Note that the narrator mispronounces Stan’s surname on each occasion – a sign of the times!


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Visual History – volume two



As I undertook compiling, editing and designing volume one of the Society’s history in 2016, it became clear that many significant artists could not be accommodated within the framework I had set up in the book to provide an overview of the foundations and main affiliations and actors. I was determined to have the book as comprehensive as possible, and for it to be a complete publication in itself: hence the inclusion of a selection of artists from the Society’s first fifty years and the inclusion of profiles of all the Presidents and most of the significant officials and the Honorary Life Members of the Society.

The book worked well overall, but how could such a survey of South Australian art not include stalwarts of the Society who were not officials but had served on Council, some of them for decades, like Gwen Barringer, and other major artists like Margaret Preston, Dorrit Black, Horace Trenerry and Sir Ivor Hele? There were many more modern artists, especially after World War Two, of considerable importance, who should be recorded in such a history; and the current membership should also be considered and compete for inclusion.

With such thoughts in mind I put the idea of a second volume to the management and the Council, and they agreed but noted the stress the first publication had imposed on the Society’s limited means. I knew a second volume would be important in order to be thorough and to promote the Society and its contemporary relevance in the broader art community in South Australia. With a few exceptions — such as John Kay and William Maxwell, who might have been included in the first volume — this volume is mostly confined to the years since artists themselves have managed the Society, extending back to 1909. The inclusion of the two profiles mentioned does offer an opportunity to revise the background to the organisation here: in the case of Maxwell, his profile is not recorded in art history books elsewhere and is of particular interest to the Society because Past President and Honorary Life Member Dr John Dowie AM, Adelaide’s best sculptor of the 20th century, penned the article in Kalori, the society’s journal.

In many respects this second volume is a better survey of the Society’s talent across its history, because it shows some of its most famous artists and gives a better idea about the vitality of the mid-late 20th century and the approaches of its contemporary membership. But where to stop, and who to include? Many discussions were undertaken and suggestions made in the Society’s office over 2016 and early 2017, but my brief from Bev Bills and Vikki Waller was to provide a wide spread of genres and media and to ensure that former and younger members were also included, being especially aware of prize winners in the Society’s major exhibitions and the impetus provided by the Youthscape programme.

The result is a book that cuts a cross-section through the current art scene in Adelaide. The two volumes, in combination including 300 chapters and over 1,050 images, provide a significant overview of art in South Australia since colonisation, and it is the first encyclopedia-like volume since 1969. It is hoped this volume, and its accompanying one from 2016, will both set standards and provide inspiration.

[Volume Two is available at the RSASA Gallery for $50.00. It was launched a Adelaide Town Hall by the Lady Mayoress Genevieve Theseira-Haese during the History Festival in May 2018.]


Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Jan Dutkiewicz

JAN DUTKIEWICZ (b. 1911, Stara Sol, Poland, d. Katowice, Poland, 1983)15380315_10155038298978917_8803582291899448749_n-copy


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment