Greg Creek

CLAIM: Art is a spectacle of moral damnation.

Dunstan, Packer and Creek defending themselvesGreg Creek’s painting Don Dunstan and the Elders is based on Artemisia Ghentileschi’s Suzanna and the Elders, which depicts an attempt by corrupt elders to rob the honour of a virtuous young maiden. The companion painting (The Jury for Calumny) is based on a drawing by Mantegna (Calumny of Apelles) which itself was based on a story from Lucian’s On Slander. As an act of revenge at being falsely accused of treason, Apelle invented an allegorical picture in which `calumny’ is seen to have influence over an ass-eared judge. These works are painted in the tonal-realist style made famous by Max Meldrum.

Don Dunstan and the Elders Don Dunstan and the Elders (after Max Meldrum) oil on linen 1996 122.0 x 122.0cm

In a culture where mock trials of `aesthetes' are a national sport, the `artist within' is perhaps the most vulnerable of inner beings. There is no escape from whim of public opinion, even in the gallery, especially in the gallery, where the only hope for artist-gladiators is to survive another exhibition. (D. P.)

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