Friday, 18 September 2009

art writing

Ken Bolton has always been modest about his work outside of the writing of poems. It took years before he would exhibit any of his drawings or designs, though, as anyone who has been published by him knows, his skills in these areas are considerable. Ken has also been a fine art writer for a long time. He belongs, I think, to the great tradition of poets who write about art. So it’s timely that the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia should have chosen to publish a collection of his critical work on local artists. I think Ken takes his brief seriously. He is dealing with the work of visual artists we may or may not be aware of and he seeks to stimulate our interest in them. His approach is one that without aid of reproduction (which, in the case of many, might not be altogether reliable within the limits of art journals with limited sponsorship) attempts to enlist its readers in a field of interest (i.e. if this reads well to you, perhaps you should hunt for these works). I am aware of the work of a few of the artists Ken talks about but by no means the majority of them. He makes me feel that I ought to chase these other presences up. Sometimes he does this through vivid description, sometimes through faux interviews where the artist is presented as a tough guy (male or female) who doesn’t want to ‘let on’. Whatever, Ken’s writing intrigues and demands (on our part) an effort to see the works themselves.

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