Friday, August 26, 2011 3:18 PM
I am a lover of coffee table books - particularly those that are on the subject of art, design, decorating, travel or food... or if I'm lucky, a combination of these subjects... a cover catches the eye - an image, a word, or a colour, that sucks you in; and you know, you have to move a little closer - to gently slide out one's hand to stroke said cover; and then surreptiously open it, while being undetected...
One of the major joys for me of course, is that a coffee table book cannot be reproduced in a digital format - it's an aesthetic pleasure.
Just sometimes a wonderful friend drops by with a book that they INSIST you borrow, because it is so beautiful, that it needs
to be shared.
And, such is, "The Artist's Lunch" - "At home with Australia's most celebrated artists" by Alice McCormick and Sarah Rhodes - with foreword by the beloved Margaret Olley.
It was passion at first sight.
Artists very often have a close relationship to food; to sourcing, preparing, cooking, and then sharing around a table with spirited conversation... and we are often presented with an artist's favourite recipe - as we are in this book - but these recipes are right at the back - and although integral to the book, they are certainly not a priority.
Some of the artists included in these pages are: Margaret Olley, Tim Storrier, John Olsen, Dorothy Napangardi, Jeffrey Smart, Wendy Sharpe, Fred Cress, Tim Maguire - and then some less obvious names, albeit just as interesting - Luke Sciberras and Salvatore Zofrea, to name a few...
This book does feature the odd painting per artist, but it's not even images of their art that drives this book; but the little anecdotes, the humorous stories, the way the artist relates to others, to food - which in most instances is not viewed as sustenance, but food as an expression of the artist, and an expression of the art itself.
Like skilled interviewers, Parkinson-style, Alice with her words, and Sarah with her photography, this team work together flawlessly and effortlessly to pull us directly in to a life vignette of the artist themselves - we leave each page knowing a little more about them as a person - their story, their passion, their travels, their beliefs, their chosen way of life; and of course, the feast that fuels each artist's creativity and imagination in their art.
From Tuscany, Burgundy, Yuendemu, to Erskineville, we are shown a glimpse of the real person, behind the successful artist.
Published by Murdoch Books.