Shearing the Classes. "Transformations in Australian Art Volume One: The Nineteenth Century - Landscape, Colony and Nation" and "Transformations in Australian Art Volume Two: The Twentieth Century - Modernism and Aboriginality" by Terry Smith. [review]
Terry Smith, as a writer and teacher, has made a considerable mark on Australian art history. Two volumes of his revised essays, organised to form a chronology, have now been published under the title "Transformations in Australian Art". Within the gleaming dustjackets, there are black-and-white illustrations, grey print and dry paper, an austerity the text confirms. More than two-thirds is extended questions and theoretical ruminations; less than one-third addresses works of art and the detail of their origins. Smith's labyrinthine, strangely equivocal style of writing is unduly punishing on the reader, yet the content is often worth the effort of disentangling the author's meaning.