Sunday, August 02, 2009


The student art auction was a bit of a bust, at least from the perspective of acquisition. However there are always other opportunities in life. Yesterday I went to one of my regular non-student, professional art auctions, and it was notably free of cashed-up newbies hammered on free booze. Actually a little free wine might have been nice, but then again it's usually better to go into these things with a clear head. Sobriety didn't stop me buying a couple of paintings, but if I'd been half in the tank I might have paid more for them.

The first was an untitled Yvonne Robertson abstract in thick oils, showing a red figure smeared across a chaotic field of muted colours. There are suggestions of pale faces and limbs rising and falling in the background.

It has a lot of excitement and subtlety of colour… and a vague sense of something sinister. It’s hard to explain, but it’s the sort of thing that might provoke disquiet if it were hanging opposite your bed and you woke up to it in the middle of the night.

The second was ‘Composition’ by Ian Cowan, which I bought on an impulse.

It’s an odd work, flat in texture and unexpected in colour, and suggesting Native American or Maori influences. I don’t know if it’s supposed to represent anything, be it a pair of figures or an Inuit’s feet. But there’s something about it that suggests it will tell me more every time I look at it. I’ve already discovered that one of the right figure’s “eyes” is a tiny glow-in-the-dark star, the sort of thing you’d put on a child’s bedroom ceiling. Further investigations revealed a couple of extra stars lurking on the underside of the frame. Subtle artistic reference or act of vandalism by some art lover’s unruly sprog? I guess I’ll never know for sure.

The price (including buyer’s premium of 16.5%) was $186 for the Robertson and $175 for the Cowan, which is a fraction of the prices being paid at the student auction, and for much better work. I wonder what the liquored-up auction newbies from Thursday would say if they knew?


Blogger TimT said...

Number 1 looks vaguely like the soup that I ate last night. I have no idea what number 2 looks like, but I don't like what it looks like anyway.

Is there a lego version?

4:03 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Putting aside your poor appreciation of modern paintings, TimT, I like the idea of Lego versions of fine art. Forget all of these vulgar tie-ins with Star Wars and Harry Potter: how about some tie-ins with Wassily Kandinsky, Edvard Munch or even Damian Hirst? Who wouldn't like to see a little Lego cow in a little formaldahyde-filled Lego display case?

And for the older children, Lucian Freud!

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the Robertson! The price is embarresing!Jaymez

2:53 AM  

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