“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





19 February 2013


L-R: Alison Mitchell, her partner, the revered Australian artist Robert "Alfie" Hannaford, with critic and exhibition curator John Neylon and his partner Heather, at the opening of Alfie's current exhibition at Signal Point. The Ballast Stone Winery tasting and sales area is part of this handsome gallery on the old wharves of the Port of Goolwa, on the estuary of the Murray River in South AustraliaDRINKSTER recommends a morning visit to the exhibition, a tasting, a long slow lunch at the nearby Bombora Cafe, and a reconstructive beer at the Steam Exchange Brewery, between the steam train and steam boats on the wharf. Neylon managed to break into Alfie's studio and pinch what he preferred for this astonishing show, which runs until 14th March. It includes priceless sketches from Alfie's childhood notebooks, cartoons from his time at The Advertiser, frank portraits of his immediate family at different stages of their lives, including his Dad, Claude, minutes after his death, and many other stunning works, including a crisp rendition of Prime Minister Paul Keating. For a taste of Alfie's compendium, check the following works.  These are not hung at Signal Point, but I've dug out a few properly photographed ones so you can get the drift. Alfie paints at Riverton, in South Australia's Gilbert Valley, where he has a studio and gallery which you must visit.  It's on the way to the wineries of Clare, and it's there, too on your way back home.  Go, see!  Alfie has painted commissioned portraits of many great Australians, including Dame Joan Sutherland and the official Sir Donald Bradman image in the dining room at Lords ... top and bottom photos by PHILIP WHITE

Looking towards Stokes Bay - Robert Hannaford

Lynda Syddick - Robert Hannaford
Catherine Middleton - Robert Hannaford

Self portrait with tubes - Robert Hannaford
Arthur Shirtock - Robert Hannaford
Pigs at Riverton - Robert Hannaford
Bag of apples - Robert Hannaford
Hannaford speaks of light


Leah Grace said...

Beautiful coverage of Robert Hannaford - Open Studio at Goolwa thankyou!

Leah Grace

Stacka Gibbons said...

That's Arthur The Wharfie!

bron said...

How's Robert's cancer Philip?

Philip White said...

He's happy and positive. He has obvious difficulty speaking, but he does it all with dignity and clarity, does dear Alfie. He looks strong and fit. It was really cool to see him after so many years. The exhibition's a must: I shed a lot of tears at his incredible skill and open, honest eye. Nobody sees the weight and thickness of light, or its quality, like Alfie does. Go to the show; buy the book!

red acre said...

Being able to show us the weight thickness and quality of light is an extraordinary achievement.

Philip White said...

Yes, agreed. His eye is frank and eternally curious. The drawings from his childhood show hints of it; then the influence of Heysen and Hele begin to emerge, and he just seems to have sucked it all in and run with it. His appreciation and recording of light and the very air we breathe - the carrier of this strange glowing element - simply grows with his years. As a journalist, I envy his astonishing ability to report with such brevity of emotion, somehow mixed with an uncanny ability to see land, air, light and living things, and the simple matters of our world and our lives, with such honest and unintrusive love. It is an honour to know him, and see these wonders.