Artist's Talk by Susan Fielder: 8

Tass Wolfe To my utter amazement, Tass took up my offer to visit Australia. My husband helped arrange an itinerary for her that included a couple of public lectures and a short-term contract at the National Gallery of Victoria. She was the kind of woman that Melbourne doesn't often see the likes of. She made quite an impression with her spiky blond hair and silk wardrobe. Melbourne gave her the attention which she felt was lacking in New York.

I remember a scene at an opening at the South Yarra Galleries. My husband had introduced her to a young abstract painter, much lauded at the time. In a fairly abrasive manner, she began to present her views on abstraction. Heads adjacent to the conversation tilted in the direction of this sharp American voice. After she finished speaking, Tass looked to the young man for some response. He shuffled a little and then asked her what she thought were the Manhattan galleries that would be interested in Australian work. It seemed a pity that there wasn't a real interaction opening up for Tass in Melbourne. The audience for her public lectures seemed more interested in her as a New York art writer than as someone with a message.

Tass seemed quite taken with my story. She used to say that I'd been orphaned by philosophy, but I might be able to find decent foster parents in art. Looking back, I can see I felt some responsibility to Tass for her efforts on my behalf.

This part jogged a few memories in the audience. I may have been a little hard on the painter Tass spoke with, but he's a big shot in Sydney now, so I'm sure he can take it.