New Writing on Contemporary Art: Luke Davies on Anne Judell

30 October 2012

Luke Davies
Award winning poet and novelist, and alumnus of the Department of English, Luke Davies.

Award-winning poet and novelist, Luke Davies, will tonight launch an innovative new series that at once unites and celebrates the talents of Australia's most prominent writers and artists.

The 'New Writing on Contemporary Art' series, a joint initiative co-presented by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, Sydney Ideas and the Power Institute, will see four of Australia's best renowned writers discuss the contemporary Australian artwork that has inspired their own artistic vision.

Davies, the recent winner of the inaugural Prime Minister's Award for Poetry, will return to his alma mater to discuss the abstract work of NSW artist, Anne Judell, in his talk 'Intimate Immensity - A meditation on the art of Anne Judell'.

Since he first glimpsed a small picture of Judell's work in an art magazine promoting a Campbelltown Regional Gallery exhibition, Davies was transfixed.

"That tiny image made me curious enough to drive out to Campbelltown," he reminisces. "Seeing the images in the flesh - it was love at first sight."

He expects the ideas born from his discussion of Judell's meditative pastels and drawings will inspire new artistic configurations.

Anne Judell
Anne Judell, 'Moon Light 1', 2011/12 Courtesy of the artist & Janet Clayton Gallery.

"Hopefully, one form deflects off another in a way that creates something interesting, a new perspective," Davies says.

Davies is no stranger to the creative crossovers different artistic mediums can spark. In a similar vein to 'New Writing on Contemporary Art', his short story, Study for the Weather Station, was written as a companion piece to a Stuart Spence photograph in the Griffith Review.

Davies is perhaps best known as author of the semi-autobiographical novel Candy (1997), which he then adapted into a film starring Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish and Geoffrey Rush.

With a penchant for poetry and creative writing shining through even in his undergraduate days, Davies published his first poetry collection, Four Plots for Magnets (1982), while in the 3rd year of his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Sydney.

Reflecting on his time as a student, Davies remembers most the "great teachers introducing me to great literature."

"There was so much passion in the English Department. It was four years that set up good reading habits I've kept up ever since," he says.

Director of the Power Institute, Professor Mark Ledbury, is excited by the prospect of opening the series with such a "striking" and "energetic" voice as Luke Davies'.

"We're really excited, because this is a piece of new work we've commissioned from him that will be part of a series of works contemporary Australian writers which take as their starting points works of Australian art," Ledbury explains.

"I love the idea of a writer engaging with artwork and creating a poem or a work that responds to that. We're excited and we're hoping it will be not just a great occasion itself but will inaugurate a very powerful series."

Ledbury also considers the series a way for the Power Institute to sponsor new creative responses to contemporary Australian art outside of straightforward historical perspectives.

"As long as the Power Institute has existed our mission has been to get interesting writers to think about art," says Ledbury.

"One of the most exciting things is when art actually provokes a response or makes someone think differently. That's evidence of the power of art to engage writers to start creative thinking, and it's absolutely central to what Power wants to do."

The 'New Writing on Contemporary Art' series is supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

Event details

When: 6.00pm - 7.30pm

Where: Law School Foyer

Sydney Law School, Eastern Avenue

The University of Sydney

click here for venue location

Cost: Free and open to all, with regisitration requested (see below)

Contact: Sydney Ideas


T| 9351 2943

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Contact: Kate Mayor

Phone: 02 9351 2208

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