Tag Archives: Australian Contemporary Art

KATHERINE HATTAM featured in Blouin Art

13 Dec

‘Katherine Hattam: The Grammar of Living’ at Hill Smith Gallery, Adelaide, Australia

‘Katherine Hattam: The Grammar of Living’ at Hill Smith Gallery, Adelaide
Katherine Hattam, “The Grammar of Living,” mixed media on paper, 51 x 83 cm.
(Courtesy: Katherine Hattam and Hill Smith Gallery)

Hill Smith Gallery, Adelaide is hosting “The Grammar of Living,” a solo exhibition of recent works by Katherine Hattam.

Katherine Hattam was dissuaded by her parents from entering art school. They knew the struggle of artists and the path to success that was littered with challenges and setbacks. Hattam attended university, where she enjoyed four years of studying literature and a psychoanalytic theory of politics. “The Grammar of Living” series comprises of university books and study material that reappear in many of the works. Hattam has been exhibiting since 1978. She was Australia China fellow in 2002 and has held solo shows in the Geelong Art Gallery, the Bendigo art gallery, the Warrnambool art gallery, with collections that are a part of National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the Heide Museum of Modern Art among others. Hattam is represented by Daine Singer Gallery Melbourne and Art House Gallery Sydney.

Hill Smith Gallery was established in 1982 by Director Sam Hill-Smith, in the Adelaide CBD.  The gallery seeks to introduce discerning collectors to exceptional artists and their work. Genres represented within the program include painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, works on paper, and 3D printed objects. Many of the gallery’s artists’ works have been collected by leading national institutions and appear in notable corporate collections.

The exhibition is on view through December 16, 2017, at Hill Smith Gallery, Adelaide, 113 Pirie Street, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.

Additional available artworks available in the US at Morton Fine Art, Washington, DC.

Artwork Images of WILLIAM MACKINNON’s “Crossroads”

18 Nov

Reviewed in The Washington Post when liken to Henri Rousseau, here are select images of paintings from WILLIAM MACKINNON’s recent solo exhibition “Crossroads” at Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC.


WILLIAM MACKINNON, Trouble Will Find Me (The National) , 48"x58", acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on  linen

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Trouble Will Find Me (The National) , 48″x58″, acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on linen


Farewell Transmission (Magnolia Electric Co.), 58"x48", acrylic, oil and enamel on  linen

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Farewell Transmission (Magnolia Electric Co.), 58″x48″, acrylic, oil and enamel on linen


WILLIAM MACKINNON, Landscape As Self Portrait 2 (Leaving), 48"x58",  acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on linen

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Landscape As Self Portrait 2 (Leaving), 48″x58″, acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on linen


WILLIAM MACKINNON, Almost Was Not Good Enough (Moonlight II), 58"x48", acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on  linen

WILLIAM MACKINNON, Almost Was Not Good Enough (Moonlight II), 58″x48″, acrylic, oil and automotive enamel on linen


View paintings by Australian artist WILLIAM MACKINNON at Morton Fine Art’s booth #216 at Aqua Art Miami, December 3 -7th. Please contact the gallery for availability and acquisition.


(202) 628-2787


Australian Artist WILLIAM MACKINNON’s solo “Crossroads” at Morton Fine Art

31 Oct


A Solo Exhibition of Paintings by Australian Painter WILLIAM MACKINNON

October 24th, 2014 – November 14th, 2014



Friday October 24th from 6pm-8pm



Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce the second US exhibition of landscape paintings by internationally renowned Australian artist WILLIAM MACKINNON.


The exhibition will be on display from October 24th, 2014 through November 14th, 2014 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009. The opening reception will be held on Friday, October 24th from 6 to 8 pm.


WILLIAM MACKINNON, Moonlight II, oil & mixed media on canvas, 58″x48″

Born in 1978 in Melbourne, Australia, WILLIAM MACKINNON earned his Bachelor of Arts from Melbourne University, his Masters of Visual Arts from Victorian College of the Arts and his Post Graduate Diploma from the Chelsea School of Art and Design in London.  Exhibited heavily throughout Asia, Europe and Australia, Crossroads marks MACKINNON’s second solo exhibition in North America. MACKINNON is currently exhibiting as a finalist in theBasil Sellers Art Prize at The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne.  Born into a family legacy of internationally renowned fine artists, MACKINNON participate in a noteworthy 3 generation exhibition in Landscape of Longing: Shoreham 1950-2012 at the Mornington Pennisula Regional Gallery in Australia which included a number of works by his mother, KATHERINE HATTAM (b. 1950) and his grandfather, HAL HATTAM (b.1913 d.1994).


WILLIAM MACKINNON, Crossroads, oil & mixed media on canvas, 48″x58″




WILLIAM MACKINNON explores themes of Australian and personal identity in his solo exhibition, Crossroads.  Existing at the intersection of representation and abstraction, reality and imagination, MACKINNON creates magical worlds of landscapes, nocturnes and dream scapes reflective of his internal and external environment.  Employing mediums such as oil paint, solvent, enamel, and spray paint, MACKINNON’s landscapes evoke a mystery and richness in surface which parallel its psychological narrative content.


Gallery Hours:


Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm

Sunday 12pm – 5pm


William MacKinnon - Basil Sellers Prize
William MacKinnon – Basil Sellers Prize
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Contact Information
Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20009
(202) 628-2787

Katherine Hattam’s essay “Counting and the Vulgar Reader”

14 May

To view available work by visual artist, KATHERINE HATTAM, please visit http://www.mortonfineart.com.

Katherine Hattam, "The Egoist"

Katherine Hattam, “The Egoist”



“The desire comes first”. This phrase, one I read in a book about American artist Eva Hesse, explains most things in my life, and certainly why I decided two years ago, to call this exhibition Consciousness Rising, to create work springing from reflections on the 1970s feminism and the phenomenon of “Consciousness Rising” particular to that time.

I am revisiting and reflecting on that time, my education – literature and psychoanalytic theory disguised as political science – when I read texts like Sanity, Madness and the Family; The Divided Self; The Greening of America – now I physically cannibalize them to provide a grid over which to work, incorporating covers and spines.

Why look back now? Death – less importantly politics – watching Julia Gillard’s resignation speech, for all my criticism of her as leader, there was a huge sense of sadness. Certainly it was different being a woman as a politician – harder…I am not a political artist – that is where my drive comes from – so to death…Both my parents have been dead for years, changing me and the work. But it is the more recent and shocking death of my friend Diana Gribble that feeds directly into this work. It certainly raised my consciousness of mortality but it was her stories of the South Yarra women’s consciousness raising group in the 1970s, stories of young, mostly married women, awakened to the fact of living in a patriarchy and simultaneously – almost without knowing it – finding themselves out of their once happy marriages – she was fabulous talking about this, being funny yet acknowledging its significance, at the same time both mocking it and taking it seriously.

As I didn’t do it, my knowledge of “consciousness rising” is secondhand. I wasn’t asked – it was an urban thing and I was married at twenty, living in far western Victoria on a family property (that life less conservative than it appeared), where women were of necessity integral to the business and daily life, through it was assumed the sons would inherit the land. But, I was commuting to Melbourne University once a fortnight and reading various second wave feminist texts. In fear of ever being stuck at a cattle sale or outside the stock and station agents in town, I always carried a book, at times Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch or a novel, say Anna Karenina or Women in Love. We were reading of student unrest in The Uncommitted, about the personal being political, so I was, through my visits to university, in touch. Importantly, a friend, Winsome McCaughey emailed me information about WEL (Women’s Electoral Lobby) that, significantly, I chose not to act on.

Looking back, I see an intellectually sophisticated, but emotionally backward young woman, navigating my marriage, living in a place and a life more exotic and different than if I had gone to another country rather than to the country. Maybe I was too young; my friends who did join consciousness-raising groups are years older. However, talking about this with my sisters, it was perhaps more the legacy of my intelligent but anti-joining mother. Added to this, she was a Modernist, believed there was only good and bad art, not Women’s or Muslim, Gay or Indigenous art, and would have been horrified, mocked the idea of quota, affirmative action.

It’s taken me pretty much until now to disagree with her. Reading the essay on “consciousness rising” titled “The personal is political” in the 1960s pamphlet “Notes from the Second Year”, I now see what I missed. I get it – women told their personal experiences and, in the repetition, the similarity of experience came to realize that personal experience was political. In a recent lecture, Sophie Cunningham, publisher, writer and Chair of the Literature Board, listed damning figures in all the arts – portraying an extremely unleveled playing field – the visual arts being by miles the worst. She pointed me to the blog, “The Countess”, which does just that, counts. Two examples: 1) the 1986 Sydney Biennial had 50/50 male female artists – the Australia Council, for once, specified that the money would be given on the condition that this would be the case, the only time both things have happened – the numbers have never since been equaled. 2) of the two thousand works in the Kaldor Collection donated to AGNSW, two or maybe three are by women.

An erstwhile friend, a writer, a good one and amusing friend, a man who used to ring me to talk and gossip – it was always interesting and fun, but somewhere in these conversations, he almost directly, and I’m sure, unconsciously, quoted Mr. Tansey in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, saying, “Women can’t write and women can’t paint”. Eventually our friendship ended when we argued over the portrayal of an artist in a novel which enraged me, “That just wouldn’t happen”, I objected – (it annoys me when writers use the character of an artist to explore their own creativity and, unfailingly, get the details of the trade wrong). Hs reply was to call me a “vulgar reader”, a title I now wear with pride.

“Landscape as Self Portrait” solo exhibition by Aussie WILLIAM MACKINNON

4 Oct


A Solo Exhibition of Paintings by Australian Painter WILLIAM MACKINNON

October 12th, 2012 – November 6th, 2012



Friday October 12th from 6pm-8pm


Morton Fine Art is pleased to announce the inaugural US exhibition of landscape paintings by internationally renowned Australian artist WILLIAM MACKINNON.

The exhibition will be on display from October 12th, 2012 through November 6th, 2012. The opening reception will be held on Friday, October 12th from 6 to 8 pm

William Mackinnon, LOST, acrylic, and enamel on canvas, 55"x47"

William Mackinnon, LOST, acrylic, and enamel on canvas, 55″x47″

 About WILLIAM MACKINNON (Melbourne, b. Australia):

Born in 1978 in Melbourne, Australia, Mackinnon earned his Bachelor of Arts from Melbourne University, his Masters of Visual Arts from Victorian College of the Arts and his Post Graduate Diploma from the Chelsea School of Art and Design in London. Exhibited heavily thoroughout Asia, Europe and Australia, Landscape as Self Portrait, marks WILLIAM MACKINNON’s first exhibition in North America.

About Landscape as Self Portrait:

“For me painting is not passive mimicry of what is in front me. I see through my memory. Whether intended or not, every painting is a self-portrait. The roads and places I paint are both specific and amorphous. I want to transport the viewer along roads analogous to life and it’s various stages. They are filled with inclement weather, this is internal weather of the mind; fog, darkness, dips and peaks.”
-WILLIAM MACKINNON on his inspiration

Get to Know MFA’s Australian Artist KATHERINE HATTAM

3 Jan
Katherine Hattam with one of her latest exhibits, Federation Square. Photo: Angela Wylie

Katherine Hattam with one of her latest exhibits, Federation Square. Photo: Angela Wylie

Colours of the hectic city

Gabriella Coslovich for The Age, Australia

November 15, 2010

Katherine Hattam’s art is inspired more by places around Melbourne than by family friend Fred Williams.

ART has been an intrinsic part of Katherine Hattam’s life. Her father, Harold Hattam, was a leading Melbourne gynaecologist and art collector, who eventually gave up medicine, a profession he loved, to take up painting, whose call he could not resist.

His friends included some of Australia’s greatest artists – among them Fred Williams, Arthur Boyd, John Perceval and Charles Blackman – whose work he and wife Kate collected long before it became fashionable. Indeed, it was Boyd who first noticed the remarkable talent of Harold’s daughter Katherine.

”I did these big black and white drawings in my bedroom and I can remember Arthur Boyd came to my parents’ house and he said, ‘Take her out of school’, and my parents both went, ‘No’,” Katherine says.

Not that she minded terribly much. Academically gifted, Katherine went to university and studied English literature and political science, developing a fascination with psychoanalysis along the way. Her love of art, however, never left her – and, unlike her father, she forged a career in it from the start.

Hattam is largely self-taught. She made and exhibited work for 10 years before starting a master’s in fine art at the Victorian College of the Arts. By then, she was 38, twice married and the mother of three.

Her work has been bought by significant public and private institutions, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and Queensland Art Gallery. But Hattam still struggles with the ”impossible combination of obsession and self-doubt” that is perhaps the mark of an artist’s life. Her latest solo exhibition, which opened at the John Buckley Gallery in Richmond on the weekend, was 2½ years in the making, with plenty of ”duds” destroyed along the way. Experimentation and failure was a fundamental part of the process and led to a breakthrough – Hattam’s first exhibition composed entirely of paintings. About half are in gouache, a medium that points to the influence of her father and Fred Williams.

”As a teenager I went on several painting trips with my father and Fred Williams, to the You Yangs and outlying Melbourne suburbs. Both used gouache on paper to paint out in the landscape. Fred worked fast and with intensity, and I remember watching on a couple of occasions him hosing down one or two which he was not happy with when he got home,” she says.

Stylistically, though, the influence of Williams or her father is slight. Hattam’s paintings have more of a Matissean flavour, and this latest lot are so energised and vibrant, pulsating in glowing pinks, reds, oranges and yellow, that they caused one woman to remark how fitting it was to have a show about ”spring” now that the season had finally arrived in Melbourne.

In fact, the show is not at all about spring, but about Melbourne and is inspired by some of Hattam’s favourite places such as Merri Creek, Federation Square, Princes Park and the Tan track.

”I look at the show now and it looks like a celebration of Melbourne. I went for a walk last night at Princes Park, about seven o’clock, it was a hot, summery evening, I love that, where everyone is out exercising and you have all these amazing coloured clothes, socks, sneakers and caps.”

But the paintings are more than mere colourful landscapes. Hattam’s work is a mesmeric tapestry, hovering between the abstract and the figurative, and includes autobiographical elements and recurring symbols that speak of her interior world, and the tension between the domestic and artistic life.

The bright geometric patterns in the painting Federation Square (pictured above) allude not only to the square’s paving and facade, but also to a stained glass window at her sister’s home in Brooklyn, New York. Other paintings feature Hattam’s dogs Minnie and Olive, and her cat Melba – all three creatures are strikingly (and conveniently) black and white. As for the repeated image of the snakes and ladders board game, it’s a metaphor for the ups and downs of life.

About to turn 60, Hattam remains dynamic and questioning. She regularly attends the shows of younger artists whose works excite and inspire. Among them is her son, William Mackinnon, with whom she has collaborated in the past. Both of them feature in a group show opening at Utopian Slumps next week.

And yet, just as her parents had done with her, Hattam dissuaded young William from going to art school.

”I just think it’s too precarious a life,” Hattam says. ”I love the work, but I hate the precariousness.”