This landmark book charts the development of Australian art, from early Aboriginal work to that of the first colonial settlers, immigrant artists of the twentieth century and the culturally diverse inhabitants of the country today. Exploring this eclectic 300-year history, the book also celebrates key moments in the Australian can, such as Sidney Nolans iconic paintings about the outlaw Ned Kelly, begun in the 1940s. In recent years the tenacious influence of European art on Australian practice has waned, making way for a highly original native art scene of international standing. Such contemporary artists as Tracey Moffatt, Fiona Hall and Vern Ah Kee are also represented here. The art of this continent is indelibly linked to its epic landscape. This book focuses especially on this complex and evolving alliance, illustrating in paintings, prints, drawings, photographs and film and video stills the distinctive Australian terrain, and examining the ways in which Australian artists have sought to negotiate their identities in relation to the extremes of their land.
Wally Caruana is an independent curator, formerly a curator at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Franchesca Cubillo is curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.