Literature

On Using Words as Paint

While writers and painters are engaged in distinct creativities, they occasionally use their creative media—words and paint—for a shared purpose, as they do when trying to create a modernist artefact as opposed to a realist or naturalist one. As we watch them do this, it’s useful to remember what can happen when we pass judgment on a reference convention or express a preference for one aesthetic movement over another. For example, the controversy around William Dobell winning the Archibald Prize in 1943 for his portrait of Joshua Smith involved a distinction between portraiture and caricature, and became an unfortunate debate…

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