Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader I Teacher

If the name Vanessa Bell (1879-1961) doesn’t ring a bell, then maybe her younger sister’s name, Virginia Woolf, does. Happily, my recent stay in London coincided with an exhibition of Vanessa’s art at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, and I also visited Charleston House, her charming rural bolthole in East Sussex. Combining these visits enabled me to better understand this artist […]

One of my new-year resolutions includes ‘getting out of Melbourne to enjoy art on offer in regional Victoria’. This promise began to materialise just before Christmas when I contacted an ‘old’ pal who lives in Geelong and shares my love of art. I’m ashamed to say that I have never stepped foot inside the Geelong Gallery (GG) so it was […]

Categories: Musings on Art

Travel writing often ends up being fantasy. The idea of the writer-artist as an independent traveller embodies a romantic notion that the source of his or her inspiration is an unrestrained inner life. English travel writer, Bruce Chatwin (1940-89,) was a post-Vietnam-War traveller, content to travel alone and live in ‘native’ standards of comfort. His writing style is as intoxicatingly […]

The University of Melbourne and National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne, have organised an international conference, Human Kind: Transforming Identity in British and Australian Portraits 1700-1914, which will start next Thursday, 8 September, and run for four days, finishing on Sunday 11 September with a panel discussion and debate from 6.15pm to 7.00pm. As the title suggests, the focus will […]

Categories: Musings on Art

If you think the French artist, Edgar Degas (1834-1917), just painted pretty ballerinas in soft pastels, then you’ll know otherwise once you’ve visited the National Gallery of Victoria exhibition featuring works spanning more than five decades of his career. You’ll find out that this enigmatic man depicted modern Parisian life—warts and all—in many intriguing ways. Some pigeon-hole Degas as an […]

Categories: Musings on Art

These days, it is cool to poo-poo the pursuit of beauty in art, but avant-garde writers and artists in late-nineteenth-century Europe, particularly in the hedonistic capital of France, celebrated the power of beauty to transform the beholder. English literary genius, Oscar Wilde, was notorious as the witty spokesman of Aestheticism and its bold declaration that art should be independent from […]

Categories: Musings on Art

Unprecedented mass surveillance and the implications for our private lives, now and into the future, are scary—invisible monsters inhabit the built environment, listening and taking note. Gardens can be our escape, however bizarre. In my mind I make a return visit to one of Italy’s most mysterious and ingenious sixteenth-century gardens: Sacre Bosco in Bomarzo, 42 miles north of Rome. […]

Categories: Musings on Art

Another Christmas is behind us. January, and a hot, dry Melbourne summer are upon us again. Howard Arkley’s air-brushed, brightly-coloured pictorial images of triple-fronted brick veneer Melbourne homes remind me of when I was younger, and the route I regularly walked from the bus stop to the local swimming pool. I would marvel at those cream-brick, highly-prized family havens. Today, […]

Categories: Musings on Art

French sculptor, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), brought sculpture out of the doldrums and gave it a surface energy never seen before. For Rodin, it is the surface that expresses the results of internal and external forces. I appreciated this when I visited the Musée Rodin in Paris and saw the freshness of terracotta and plaster casts formed and moulded by Rodin’s […]

Categories: Musings on Art

Entering The University of Melbourne’s Ian Potter Museum of Art, I walked upstairs and entered a darkened room: soft light illuminated the central glass case containing a small medieval prayer book opened to reveal a biblical scene in brilliant colour, painted on parchment. I could just see the crimson velvet binding around the edge of the cover, and I imagined […]

Categories: Musings on Art