when i was a kid my aunty ruth worked at the national gallery of victoria. how cool ! ruth and my cousins hugh and robbie would take my brother and i to the ngv as well as other galleries around melbourne. we were extremely country so catching trains and seeing tones of people walking around doing their thing was exciting enough. i remember getting in trouble for pointing at two people kissing. i wasn’t used to seeing that stuff. it was interesting to me that people in this built up noisy place could be so consumed by what they were doing it seemed like they were the only two people in the city. i saw graffiti for the first time. i remember getting a big kick out of seeing the name HUGH in huge letters on the side of an old factory. then we’d get to the gallery and spend like half an hour marveling over the water wall. inside ruth introduced us to the world of art, answering all our questions and filling our heads with facts about artists and movements. i wish i’d retained more of that information for art school years later. everything was big !  painting (1977) by peter booth with it’s scale and intensity was undoubtedly my favorite.

a few years after that i had to write an essay for art theory, i called ruth and she recommended an artist who had work at the ngv howard hodgkin. she sent me heaps of booklets and helpful reading.  i never got to use it for the essay cause i was crappy student and called her a night or two before it was due but when it arrived i fell into the work. i loved its looseness and how it was all about feeling. your own feeling. it was the first time i’d consciously noted that the artist was letting you the viewer created your own interpretation or emotion for the work. hodgkin paints truly abstract work, something i see as almost impossible. his work and all the work i encountered at the ngv at that early age has stayed with me and influenced me consciously and subconsciously for more than ten years.

so thank you ruth !

x jonah