Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friend on Whiteley, from Britain

Last night I went to the launch of The Donald Friend Diaries, edited by historian, belles-lettreist and former Meanjin editor Ian Britain.

(Yes, I was out at night. Luxury.)

Friend was a striking draughtsman, and fine writer: well-read, bright and bloody funny.  Like those of Virginia Woolf, his diaries shed light on the author's personality and era.  But they are also literary gems in their own right.  His eye for character and aesthetics is arresting, often with a taste of the bawdy.

I hope to say more about the Diaries, but for now, here's Friend on artist Brett Whiteley:
7th October, 1981
Brett Whiteley shows in his studio many large and brilliant brush drawings of nudes. Matisse plus heroin. The studio has many mirrors, and many photographs of himself looking old and haggard and oddly coarse. The spectacular nudes have become formalised to give the sensation of the enormous prize-pumpkin clefted rotundity of arse thrust at the viewer, to which is attached a speedily diminishing body and far far distant head--the head like a remote little receding gherkin.

1 comment:

The above fore-mentioned. said...

Two loves combined - Whiteley and Friend - lucky you, sounds like a nice outing and a great book.