Slide Show - Images (mostly) from The Illustrated History of Painting


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Measurable Outputs

The idea that art (of all type) is a sort of antechamber one habituates, or medication one swallows, in order to "improve" one's self and/or one's society, is a bourgeoisie, Victorian-era, artifact. 

The Victorian notion was that the, then-trebling, early-industrial era's 'great unwashed' could be demographically reduced, or socially improved, by supplementing the workers otherwise squalid existences with calibrated doses of culture. 

These ideas have persisted to our day and are now greenhouse-propogated by relational aestheticians and non-profit ( governmental and private) entities who dole out public funds based on 'measurable' audience-outreach and measurable audience-enrichment ... read "improvement". 

I've no argument against, nor practical alternative to these hoary ideas and practices - mine is a subjective observation. Nothing more.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

70 Million Dollar Petit Fours

FYI: Art Historian Amelia Jones is a seasoned pro when it comes to curating her own (faux) radical credentials – and self-promotionally disseminating that self-constructed myth via mainstream media and august podiums at airless academic conferences. 

Jones is particularly deft at opportunistically placing herself (in word, if not deed) at the hypothetical barricades of whatever cultural war(s) she sees being fought – fought by actual, participating, stakeholders. 

Jones is the quintessential academic, careerist-sayer, posing as an activist player. Her two main claims to ‘fame’ are coining the grammatically jaw-breaking trope “Pollockian performative” … and her infamously demonstrated willingness to accept a lucrative Chair at UCSC – where she functioned as upholder of, and appartchik spokesperson for, the party-line at Roski School of Art and Design, University of Southern California – just as the entire 2016 post-graduate cohort of the school quit en masse, in protest over the organizationally inept corporatization of the art school. Including, but not limited to, broken, contractual, promises to its post-grads. 

From the elitist promontory of her academic sinecure Amelia Jones loftily pronounces on “trans-identity” and righteously excoriates ‘privilege’ – all-the-while nibbling Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s 70 million dollar petit fours. 

Jones has positioned herself in such a way as to lump anyone who questions her radical legitimacy with those who oppose the cultural “re-questioning” she herself has co-opted from its rightful owners.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Install Shots - Means to an End - Caves, Melbourne

Installation shots from Means to an End @ Caves Inc, Melbourne 
Room 18, Level 6, 37 Swanston Street (Nicholas Building), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Thursday, Friday 12 - 6pm. Saturday 1 - 5pm.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Means to an End travels to Caves, Melbourne

Means to an End. 2016.
Two full scale SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus)
Courtesy of the artist.

C A V E S is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by New Zealand based artist


R O G E R   B O Y C E

Means to an End

Opening celebration to take place on Friday the 29th of April from 6pm.
29th of April - 21st of May, 2016.

“It is not worth the bother of killing yourself, since you always kill yourself too late."     
 -  E.M. Cioran, The Trouble with Being Born

We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the Kulin Nation.


Room 18, Level 6, 37 Swanston Street
Melbourne, Victoria  3000

Hours: Thursday, Friday 12-6pm. Saturday, 1-5pm or by appointment call 0413205929 or 0416051672

Friday, April 8, 2016

Merle , Bronco Billy, and Hillbilly Heaven

Here's my farewell Merle Haggard story and consequently my favorite Merle Haggard song.

When I was a young man I once took a job on a broke-down ranch-cum-fugitive-farm (of sorts) a good distance on a dirt road outside Durango Colorado....somewhere, or other, in the national forest vicinity of Alamosa. The place was run, or rather run down, by a half-assed 'rancher' (and I use the term rancher, loosely) more accurately an out-and-out grifter named Bert.

Bert had a number of things going, in various states of the union, none of which were going particularly well, at the time. Bert’s hobby-ranch and cult-of-personality detention camp was staffed by a duke’s mixture of youngish men and women - semi-skilled cowboy-and-cowgirl-wannabe drifters - and real, down on their luck cowhands, pedophile cooks, dipsomaniac bottle-washers, self-diagnosed handy-men and women and what have you – most of whom seemed to be primarily engaged with - to the exclusion of much honest work and all else - a perpetual and mysteriously randy, game of musical bunks.

The stock was habitually hungry, and thus constantly breaking down fence to get at grass - both Bert's and the surrounding neighbors. This, and other ranch management dysfunction led to anger and conflict with the more-competent owners of neighboring spreads and recrimination, incessant grumbling, conniving, rumor mongering and dust-ups among Bert's mostly unqualified, debatably sociopathic, ranch hands. 

A great many conflicts stemmed from Bert's unwillingness, or financial reluctance , to buy-in feed, the ranch's collective incompetence at growing and laying by its own hay and alfalfa stores, but more often than not overflowed from incompletely sublimated tension around, and out of, tectonic shifts in romantic alliance, schism, and rivalry.

I'd hie off, now and again, into wilder places nearby, to get far away from the ranch's daily interpersonal chaos and collapsing infrastructure ... and to try for trout in the Alamosa, the Animas & their tributaries. A time or two, on my desperate river wanderings, I'd find I had been mysteriously tracked down one river trail or another, by a canny, redheaded and determined young horse-girl. I'd get back to my camp at nightfall to find her ride tied nearby and her waiting, in the altogether, inside my tent. She got no argument from me, there on the river, although back at the ranch was another story.

Things finally came to an unhappy head, with Bert and I, late one evening. And after a marathon, and dangerously heated, argument about: whether I was really leaving, or not, whether he'd be paying me what was outstanding, or not, and if he'd willingly drive me to the train station in Gallup,New Mexico - or risk a well earned beat-down I’d been spoiling for.    

Bert surprised me by capitulating and so we drove off the ranch, into the night, and on toward New Mexico, in his late model, canary yellow, Coupe de Ville. It should be noted here that Bert did not scrimp on personal comforts.

Driving, in an adrenally fatigued and grimly silent state, through the remainder of the night, we arrived. And I was unceremoniously dropped, near dawn, on the outskirts of the New Mexico Indian town of Gallup - where I'd be forced by a Southern Pacific timetable to wait most of the day for the next train to California. 

Being already chronically sleep deprived - by continual ranch goings-on: jarred or kept awake, nightly, by noisy parties, serial arguments, the occasional knuckle duster and/or theatrically loud fucking sounds coming from adjacent, thin-walled, bunkhouse - I was all but asleep on my feet in a town I had no familiarity with or newfound affection for.

Gallup is, or was then, a dead, dry and dust-blown southwestern town with nothing much to recommend it - save cheap Mexican restaurants, drinking dives, and cheek-by-jowl pawn shops - pawn shops stuffed full of dead-Indian-pawn. Sad, tawdry cinder-block and stucco treasuries filled with silver and turquoise bolos, bracelets, necklaces, belt-buckles, and earrings of various vintage and craftsmanship – all democratically reduced to abandoned second-hand merchandise, to be pawed through by fat, white, American tourists weighing the dubious pros and cons of quality, price and baseline advisability of buying and taking home an authentic Native American memento of travels through the indigenous southwestern USA.

I imagined, with no little desperation, finding a lush park or municipal lawn on which to collapse and sleep. But that was a waking dream. Gallup's few public parks were treeless, sun-blasted expanses of hard dirt, dust, broken bottle glass and strategically pinched dogshit. Grass, had it once existed, was now a distant memory. I wandered the streets in a sort of nauseous haze, looking for relief.

Relief appeared, as if a mirage, in the form of an old-school movie palace. On a Deco Marquee: "Clint Eastwood’s Bronco Billy, featuring a cameo appearance by Merle Haggard and the Strangers". I tripped into the almost empty theater’s shady, air-conditioned interior, sat down in a plush seat, and stayed with Bronco Billy until Merle appeared - grinning and fronting his band, behind a cinematically staged barfight. 

I fell asleep immediately thereafter, assured that if Merle could carry on playing in the eye of a honky tonk storm that I might, just might, sleep undisturbed, all the way to California, in a second class train coach and wake up fresh to the sunshine state. Where perhaps, with some luck, I might reclaim a little piece of the life I’d left behind.

The song Merle and the boys were playing in the movie that day was Misery and Gin – my favorite Haggard tune then and to this day. RIP Mr. Haggard. You gave as good as you got. And often better.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Ha ha ha huh?

Ha ha ha huh? Art Basel Hong Kong Debate motion: "Art Today Has Sold Out To The Market" ... note to breathless ABHK debaters - Bernard Berenson once lucidly compared the Renaissance relationship twixt artist and patron to that of a luxury goods tradesman (say, shoemaker, tailor to the court) and a customer placing an order. The patron specified what he or she wanted. 

I imagine the Church and 17th century nouveau riche tradesmen of the Netherlands also specified desire. What Modern, and now contemporary, art patrons most specifically desire, is a ticket to ride. A warrant to climb aboard and be associated with an artist's intangible, but increasingly valued, prestige. 

To gain admission to realms of prestigious endeavor and experience they would otherwise be socially/culturally excluded from - given the almost monomaniacal pursuit of mercantile wealth is the real price of admission to Art Basel Hong Kong and other luxury goods trade-fairs.

Blog-post image by Bill Griffith 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

Macher & Machen The 2016 Walters Prize Selection

Thread contribution (with some editing for out-of-context-legibility) to Jim and Mary Barr's Over the net and on the Table FB Page:

Without at all questioning the quality and suitability of art and artists, chosen for this year's Walters finalists, I would submit that the largest elephant in the Walters room is the apparent exclusion of painting and painters from consideration. 

While there have been, in the past, exceptions to this perpetually evident omission ... those, for the most part token, painters included in the finalist-and-winners mix would be exceptions to the rule. 

Given that painting is the statistically largest category of visual art practice in any country, and given it thrives, innovates and (yes) dominates multiple artworld sectors - despite its many published obituaries - its exclusion by successive Walters juries is an embarrassingly self-conscious and myopic exercise of ideological discrimination. 

The supposed conflict of ( makher / מאַכער ) interest you (Over the Net) highlight with your investigative speculations is, in my experience, standard operating procedure in the larger artworld... and here, on these professionally inbred islands, an all but unavoidable fact. 

'Insider-trading' is the mother's milk of international, national, and regional artworld-curation and adjudication. And an indispensable promotion-rung on the arts-administration career-ladder. 

I would guess that what I've written here will be seen (if at all) as either partisan, sour/grapes, and/or reactionary waffle. What else is new?

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Years Eve

When I was still drinking I didn't, as a rule, go out on New Years Eve. My friends and I, who were all 'career drinkers', referred  to New Years Eve as amateur night. We didn't ,of course, cease our chronic, chemically-assisted, drinking on New Years Eve - we simply stocked-up and stayed home. 

Shortly after moving to New Zealand, while still married, with a young child (Enzo, probably 2 years old at the time), we undertook a motor-home Tiki tour of the north island. We ended up, on New Years Eve day, at Glink's Gully, an ocean-side campsite near Dargaville. In the daytime it was delightfully sunny, the seemingly endless beach a natural marvel, and our campsite neighbors friendly and reasonably sane.

That evening an entire campsite of average looking, mostly middle-aged, middle-class, white-folk got simply blotto and ran amok. While their children scurried about the night, unsupervised. Amok, there's simply no other way to put it. Add, to the veneer-delaminating George Romero-like scenario, a musically monstrous, ear-bleedingly-loud, Jimmy Barnes-on-bad-acid-style band ... churning out one banal cover-song after another - some time before midnight - (with our two year old wailing in pure terror, at the sonic assault) factor in the sound of a military-sized copter landing very close by where we trying to, hopelessly, get the kid to sleep. 

Apocalypse Then. 

Mid morning of the next day (or early-afternoon, rather) those who'd managed to come-to were slumped on chairs and chilly bins .... staring dumbly at the destroyed turf between their jandals. Slowly the night's full story (and the reason for the copter landing) emerged in pained, embarrassing, croaks from our crushingly hungover camp-mates.

It seems one young girl had been all but cut in half, another seriously broken, by a drunken, speeding, dirt biker - ripping heedlessly down the beach in pitch-darkness. Two mid-teen girlfriends, lying on their backs, gazing up at the wealth of stars in a moonless sky - both of them leaving, one near death, in the medi-vac copter we'd heard landing and taking off. 

I found myself comforting the dead girl's inconsolable grandfather (known as 'the Mayor of Glink's Gully) as his own family&friends cohort were yet too traumatized or wolly-headed to provide an ear. He'd had a beer or two, the night before, took off his hearing aids and gone to bed - waking in the morning to the night's tragedy. 

All of the campgrounds we stayed at during our travels that summer were to a lesser degree (of course) similarly Janus-faced. In the daytime folks fished, swam, played volleyball and ate together in some semblance of normality - but at night, any night, most bets were off. Nothing arose to challenge the level of middle-class-white horror we had on New Years night ... but various degrees of ungoverned, ethanol-induced chaos ruled kiwi campgrounds, come sundown, on any given night. 

This is not a reproach, or cautionary tale - it's nothing more than a first person account.

Although I wasn't drinking then, and abstain to this day, I continue my habit of staying home on New years Eve. 

Humanity is barely sufferable when both they, and I, aren't in the bag. So, as I write, it's roughly 11:13PM and here I sit, waiting for the signaling fireworks outside to resound.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ceci N'est Pas Une Cigare

A spirtitualist-table-rapper's means of communication with the 'other side' or a Richard Artschwager table - sometimes, sometimes, a cigar is not just a cigar.

"A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing , abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties .... It is absolutely clear that, by his activity, man changes the forms of the materials of nature in such a way as to make them useful to him. The form of the wood, for instance, is altered if a table is made out of it. Nevertheless the table continues to be wood, an ordinary, sensuous thing. But as soon as it emerges as a commodity, it changes into a thing which transcends sensuousness. It not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than if it were to begin dancing of its own free will."  - Karl Marx

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Balanchine's Bathtub

When I lived in NYC I found myself, one evening, at an art after-party, near Lincoln Center, in what had once been George Balanchine's  apartment. 

When I happened to require the loo I discovered a pair of New York City Ballet dancers lying fully clothed in the bathroom's water-less bathtub. 

When I laughingly inquired of the odd, but delightful, sight I was told by the two supine dancers that the tub had been Balanchine's.

 That was the first I'd heard of the apartment's provenance. 

Draw your own conclusions as to why the dancers were in the tub. I ended up dating - for a short while - one of the ballerinas.

Studies for Girl With Prostheses

Come and say hello if you are in Wellington the night of October 21

Friday, August 14, 2015

Daydream & Drama

- Robert J Stoller

Friday, June 19, 2015

"God Is In the House"

In the Studio today:

Art Tatum - here he's playing Sweet Emalina, My Gal (sounds like the A take version).

Tatum is, inarguably, the greatest jazz pianist of all time...and one of the greatest pianist, in any genre, of all time. 

when asked who the greatest pianist in the world was, Vladimir Horowitz replied, without hesitation, ‘Art Tatum’.  Also Horowitz said ,in an interview, that ‘If Art Tatum took up classical music seriously, I’d quit my job the next day’.

Pianist Fats Waller once announced Tatum by saying "God is in the house".

It takes some listening for the ear to get accustomed  to Tatum's perfection ... to aurally accommodate  his uncanny precision and speed.  Tatum's playing has, at times, been erroneously described as 'mechanical' - akin to a player-piano roll. Tatum plays with such speed and aplomb that his two handed pieces have sometimes been mistaken for four-handed performances.

The longer one listens to Tatum the more the heroic poetry and rich veins of sweetness begin to pronounce themselves. But long studio sessions listening to nothing but this genius can, admittedly, be wearing. Bill Evan's - with his occasional flaws and heart-on-sleeve humanity is easier to live with over long periods in the studio. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Child Holding Potato

                                     Giovanni Bellini

Child Holding Potato

When my sister got her diagnosis,
I bought an airplane ticket

but to another city, where I stared
at paintings that seemed victorious

in their relation to time.
The beech from two hundred years ago,

its trunk a palette of mud
and gilt. The man with olive-black

gloves, the sky behind him
a glacier of blue light. In their calm

landscapes, the saints. Still dripping
the garden’s dew, the bouquets.

Holding the rough gold orb
of a potato, the Child cradled

by the glowing Madonna. Then,
the paintings I looked at the longest:

the bowls of plums and peaches,
the lemons, the pomegranates

like red earths. In my mouth,
the raw starch. In my mouth, the dirt.

- Rick Barot

Big in Russia

This month, for the very first time, Russian readers of Roger Boyce Paints edged out U.S. perusers. And this week Russian readers bested, the usually #1, New Zealand readership, by a margin of two to one! I've had a healthy, ongoing, readership in the east - Ukraine, Romania, etc. - but Russian readership, at this current scale, is a relatively new phenomenon. If you are reading from Russia I'd love to hear why, what... and where you are. I can be reached via my email address ... available in the complete profile link - just below the blog's author photo, on the splash page's upper right hand side.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

TANKS ... for the MEMORIES

Tank report:

Note - None of the text below should be read as literal or descriptive. It is opaquely allusive, at best. Or confounding/misleading at worst.

Regular floating (as I did previously, for five years, in the U.S.) apparently allows the troubled 'surface-water' of consciousness to quieten itself. Slowing - in both frequency and intensity - the incessant cross-swell of dictatorial narrative. After awhile, all superficially 'audible' narrative appears to cease.

But that is not the case entire.

Instead, as 'surface noise' drops to seemingly inaudible (or imperceptible) levels, one descends, as if drawn by a down-welling gravitational pull, from one's once-choppy, now-stilled, surface consciousness ... to deeper, and more profoundly roiled, undercurrents of narrative. 

Understanding - for as long as gate-keeper-consciousness maintains itself - as one drops 'down', that internal narrative has hardly stopped at all. In fact, one's argument with life itself, continues to authoritatively and futilely contend;
(basso profondo) at deeper and deeper depths.

I intend, given time and regular practice, to drop and pause at each apprehended layer of reflective (descriptive, analytical, evaluative) narration and allow it too to cease before dropping yet deeper - and repeating. 

To that end (for now) I employ a borrowed (paraphrased,rather) kōan - in the form of a self-eating, curiosity inducing, question: "What happens when I allow everything to be exactly as it is". The seemingly simple-minded question presumes, correctly, that I ( I fucking I ) don't ever intend - as a matter of course - to allow anything to be exactly as it is. I perpetually, and futilely, insist otherwise.

So, rather than setting myself a task, self-imposed discipline, or exercise in futility - for a chronically defiant and unruly mind - I instead bait the observant self - as long as it sustains itself - with a simple, curiosity inducing, question (what happens, if ?). 

Paradoxically, whatever arises, or not, after that, is (ipso facto) things as they are. All - otherwise disruptive - adversarial, phenomenon ( as it inevitably fountains from an artesian well of incessantly assigned human meaning) allies itself (irresistibly) with the infinite allowance(s) of the originally posed question. 

The after-effects of these practices have been both liberating and irksomely discomfiting. They don't 'improve' me (whatever that might mean) as a person, nor do I stupidly expect enlightenment, of one notional type or another, from such efforts. I aspire to nothing. Nothing in particular, that is. Except whatever may happen, or manifest, in the course of inquiry. 

At present I am passively resistant to and/or pleasantly tolerant of what I think of as nafs (a Sufi term) as I'd rather not invest in, chase, or succumb to, the sorts of bliss-states floating regularly affords the inveterate bliss-ninny. 

But then again, this could be yet more self-misdirection ... growing like kudzu from an earlier Calvinist planting, I doubt I'll ever successfully be shift of. Ah, well. 

End of post.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Balthus in Studio

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

After All

Showing some post-Himalayan paintings from the turn of the century. In a group show at Bath Street Gallery, Auckland. With: Claudia Jowitt, Dane Taylor, Jessica Pearless, and Leon van den Eijkel.

Link to After All

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gods and Monsters

Essay on Tony de Lautour

Friday, December 26, 2014


"Your brightness is my darkness.
I know nothing of You and, by myself,
I cannot even imagine how to go about knowing You.
If I imagine You, I am mistaken.
If I understand You, I am deluded.
If I am conscious and certain I know You, I am crazy.
The darkness is enough.

—Thomas Merton

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


1/2 Hour Radio New Zealand interview, re MUSE exhibition @
 Suite Gallery


Friday, October 24, 2014

La bohème

The formerly freebooting art-world - a place which once annealed young imaginations, has damped down, in my lifetime, to become a moist camarilla of pseudo-savvy courtiers. 

Artists and art-world hangers-on, in seemingly permanent hypnotic thrall: to exclusivity, with being on the inside, with having access to the ‘cool’ group. Folks with financial means – both artists and non-artists supplanting folks constructing low-rent, yet intellectually commodious, ends. Rentiers, all but replacing art's tenant class - as arts’ prime movers. Movers, but hardly shakers.

The former - because-fuck-you-that’s-why - world of plastic arts displays, of late, cringe-worthy degrees of in-your-place obeisance. Acquiesces to almost wholesale domestication. Partisan language has been displaced by vapid, vested-interest, promotional, syntax - posing as criticality. Creative superficiality, in a state of perpetual spate. A tepid torrent running miles wide and inches deep.

The visual arts threatens to become little more than a self-regarding social irrelevancy - a vestigial appendage to more lively popular arts. An über-elite, cultural non-place wherein posturing partisans glibly dispense with critical discourse and comparative evaluation whilst deriding (sotto voce, of course) court pretenders who might attempt otherwise.   

Monday, September 29, 2014


In art as in life - no object no desire, no desire no  inspiration, no inspiration no expression, no expression no art, no art no life. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Luke Willis Thompson & the Walters

An apparent lack of Peak-Experience, in day to day existence, may conceivably render creatures of the lecture hall, the conference room, the office suite, the clean white empty space, susceptible and breathless when rubbed up against a chauffeured art world scavenger hunt. Scavenging for capital L life. I am reminded of Andy Kaufman's anticipatory work ... wherein he took an entire audience, from his Carnegie Hall performance - in 24 prearranged buses - out for milk and cookies.

So called anti object works are defined more by what they are not than what they are. Their dematerialized status relying, in large part, on having putatively dematerialized something substantial - that substantial 'thing', more often than not, being the collusive institution itself. Esches fervid claim that Thompson's work cuts "through the protocols of the exhibition system like a knife" is more telling than he may have imagined. Without The Institution and its protocols, to cut through, where, really, would Thompson's piece have literally stood....before launching itself, from the Auckland Art Gallery's loading dock, into some theoretical void.

Blog readers may now recommence beavering toward the reversal or overthrow of the existing tendency, or state, of the art world.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014


MUSE, the 50 Painting cohort, will travel to Suite Gallery, Wellington 
And will be on show from 29 October through 15 November

To see all 50 Online , click HERE

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Newest Love

Portrait of a Young Girl, Petrus Christus 1470

Friday, September 12, 2014

Another Nadir in Zenith

Black Widow by Mark Rayner

"An artist has apologised for upsetting the family of a murder victim after the killer's portrait was entered in a national art award. 

The artwork, showing Christchurch murderer Helen Milner - dubbed the Black Widow - is one of 49 on display at the Wallace Arts Centre in Auckland."

No better place for a crucifixion than the wall of a public exhibition space. 

If the photo of my father/brother/child's (God forbid) murderer may be used to sell newspapers and television commercials then it certainly may be grist for  artwork. 

For some perspective on this, imagine someone protesting (as unseemly) the depiction of a criminal (or criminal act, no matter how ghastly) in a fictional or documentary work for page, screen, or stage. That sort of objection would strike most as censorious and socially ultra-conservative. 

But painting, in the 21st century, is somehow still expected to bear the burden of Victorian expectation - to be obediently enobling, elevating, and meaningful in instructive ways. 

Now, consider the murderous bloodletting in paintings such as Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith Slaying Holofernes, or the confrontational Beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Caravaggio. Or the infinite catalogue of frank perversions depicted by various historical hell painters, such as Bosch

However, in these tepid latter days, if one were to dare anything approaching the incitement of works such as the aforementioned, the media would dine on the artist for weeks. 

Oddly enough the argument I've just made rarely if ever gets made. It is as if the history of images had never happened and we'd all been moved (in our sleep) to Sinclair Lewis' Zenith.

If there is a public conversation to be had about Mark Rayner's Black Widow it would be more entertaining, and instructive, to have an exchange (as Andrew Paul Wood did in my Facebook thread) about the similarity of strategy entertained by both Mark Rayner's Black Widow 2014 and Marcus Harvey's 1999 Myra.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Muse to Melbourne

Roger Boyce
'Muse', 2014
Oil and acrylic polymer on panel
50 paintings, each 200 mm diameter

Melbourne Art Fair
13 -17 August 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

Conversation Pieces of the Highest Order

                                 Douglas Stichbury's Parkin Prize drawing

Artworks are conversation pieces of the highest order. Debate, conversely, is what sells newspapers and tickets to Punch & Judy shows.

Copying, tracing, projecting, optical devices as aids, or mechanical reproduction employed - in the production of 'original' works of art - is a non-starter topic. Please keep in mind that Neo-Classicism resulted from the excavation and copying of Greek/Roman statuary.

It's pretty well accepted - at this point yawn inducing - that Caravaggio, Ingres, Vermeer, etc used optical devices (camera lucida, camera obscura) to block in their drawings/paintings. And that these devices positively revolutionized perspective and anatomical proportion. Anyone having spent time with an actual Vermeer (or Ingres or Caravaggio, for that matter) has been thoroughly disabused of the spurious, hubristic, notion that just about anyone would be (by using optical devices) capable of painting a Vermeer. LOL.

Mainstream media specializes in transforming most art prizes into man-bites-dog stories. Last year, the Parkin Prize's exquisitely rendered, winning abstract drawing, earned a headline something like this - 'Folded Piece of Paper Wins $20,000.' The only thing accurate in that sensationally inaccurate headline was the prize's dollar amount.

I got a heads-up, before I left Wellington, that some sour grapes, also-ran, artist had called in a dubious ear-worm to a Dom
Post (Dim Post, rather) reporter, re this year's (Parkin Prize) winning drawing's originality. Both dimwitted Dom Post reporter and the knuckle-headed 'deep-throat' artist have investigated and discovered one big thing - their own abject ignorance about the technical/conceptual origins and construction of visual artworks. In both historically-collective and contemporaneously-individual terms.

It's as if the two schmos (so-called artist and so-called reporter) had never seen a Larry Rivers, a Warhol, a Lichtenstein, a Robert Longo, a Sherrie Levine, a Richard Prince, a Robert Colescott or, worse yet, never had the good fortune to stumble upon John Donne's: "All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated."   

Full disclosure: I was a panel selector for this year and last year's Parkin Prize Awards. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014


25 of 50 MUSE tondos are now online @ Suite Gallery website.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Prodigal Son x 2

Detail from Rembrandt's The Prodigal Son & screen-grab from the final scene of Tarkovsky's Solaris

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Syringe Drop-Light

Friend of mine makes these hypodermic drop-lights (and sensibility-related other hybrid household objects) and is looking for an outlet, distributor, gallery, or what have you. They are scrupulously crafted and wittily conceived

Contact me at and I'll hook you up.