Richard Cornish

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Richard Cornish

Richard R Cornish (born 1942) is an Australian art theoretician and practitioner. He is a multicultural artist, writer, poet, teacher, and left-wing political activist. He has won many prizes for his art and draughtsmanship and was a top student at the National Art School. His art works span the period from 1955 until today showing the influence of modernism, Mexican social realism and Asian multiculturalism. The artwork and writing exhibits radical, militant and human responses to the main themes of our time such as protest at the Vietnam War, the emergence of women's liberation, questions of social injustice, economic crisis and ecology.


Statements Richard Cornish's Art and Writing: ‘An impressive performance — full of new insights into the nature of artistic personalities of that time (the Cinquecento) and deeply moving in the poetry of its style!’.[1] In a written comment and evaluation of Cornish’s MA dissertation’ Conceits of Unfulfilment’[2]‘I would be very pleased to accept it (painting of Vietnamese Guernica) into the Memorial’s Collection .It will be an important addition to the collection as a sincere statement about the effect of the war on the Vietnamese people, a subject otherwise not represented... On Richard Cornish’s Anti -War Painting. Vietnamese Guernica ’Elena Rensch (A/G) Curator of Art for Director, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1 Dec 1992.

‘There’s startling poetry in Cornish’s prose. You can feel him controlling it gently and come away from the book haunted by its visual imagery. Although The Woman Lilith sets out to find the one mythical answer to the question -Who is Lilith-What is Art-What is life, the book is full of many small triumphs of discovery. And small though they may be, the book’s belief in them leaves you with a feeling that the question is being answered constantly...’ ‘It’s a terrific title!...Lilith, the first wife of Adam, rebellious, beautiful, damned, a vampire, a demon, challenge to God himself.... The novel attempts to understand this woman -and attempt to define, confine her only to reveal at every turn the impossibility of doing so. She is always changing...there is an appealing aestheticism in this writing, even in the use of colour description. The novel has a sirenic ring, this fine novel opens on a cerulean blue morning 'Adams First Wife' Reviewed by.[3]

‘Many of his (Cornish's) art works contain a feel of erotic sensualism. The (multicultural) exhibition explores the changing identity of Australian culture brought about by the influence of Asia... 'Jude Mac Bean' Artist Depicts Cultural Mix'.[4]

‘Cornish's book is vibrant with the character of Lilith. Her letters and diary are intensely personal in her self searching and in her paintings of the world around her ...Her narrative also has a vivid and dazzling quality which allows things to speak for themselves ...'[5] March 1976.

‘The Woman Lilith concerns a young woman's search for vitality, genuineness and freedom in a society too often deadening, false and restrictive... '.[6]

‘His landscapes show a very rare and sensitive feeling for nature...'.[7]

‘Male authors can't always see clearly into their women characters, but Richard Cornish seems to have his Lilith just right....[8]

‘Richard's art seems to capture and portray the very rhythm and energy of life itself in his works...' The late.[9]

‘We might have a creative person of very great talent on our hands...'.[10]

‘Lilith is an art student, a life lover and truth teller, intense, passionate, and vibrant with energy in a grey society...'.[11]

‘Richard is essentially an allegorical painter... ' Dictionary of Australian Artists'. Comp Gwenda Robb, Elaine Smith Ed .Robert Smith,.[12] Lilith is a haunting character, and her predicaments are not just those of an artist but those of a human being with added sensuality and tough honesty of an artist...'.[13] 'Lilith is a spirited girl. The book opens vividly and strongly representing Lilith and her background and then moves largely into her letters and journals...'‘Lilith and her Offspring'.[14]

‘Cornish is a vigorous, sincere and robust painter seemingly strongly influenced by ideas of Noel Counihan...'.[15]

‘Richard is an artist who paints with his nut...'[16]

Further Reviews[edit]

‘Cornish and Mark Koludrovic'.[17]

‘Artist Honoured by Recognition'[18]

‘Humanist Finds High Romance'.[19]

Guest Lectures and Articles written by Richard Cornish[edit]

‘On the American Exhibition' Article for East[20]' ‘On Art and Alienation' for Arena Magazine organised Peter Flynn, Aug 1968 'Lessons from the Past 'On the Western history of Art Schools -From Vasari to the Present', Paper[21]'Pontormo: Introspection and Estrangement’.[22] ‘Pontormo: New Insights into his painting ‘The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand’,[23] Fine Arts holiday camp, Gunundi NSW, 1994 ‘The Challenge of China: Questions of Multiculturalism’ Organised John Mac Grath, Fine Arts Department, Newcastle University 1988. On Picasso’s Death Australian Left Review No 41, Aug 1973 There are more reviews in Smartartz journal of[24] and.[25]

Other Publications[edit]

Art Novel: The Woman Lilith, pub Macmillan press. The Seven Remonstrations of the Chinese Jester Dong –Fang Shuo now titled simply ‘The Ninth Immortal’. A didactic/humorous meditation manual, a pop History of Chinese philosophical thought with illustrations. ANU library 38o pages 1988. It has just been rewritten in 2004 with a stronger story line. Extract from The Woman Lilith published in[26] Art Novel ‘In Search of Malgudi’ set in India. A Comic /Tragedy.[27]

Plays: The Girls in Our Town[28] The Jester of Ch’u is a radio play that was written for ABC’s Ian Reid Competition,[29] Coriolanus and Co -Go Wacko a humorous reworking of Shakespeare’s play on how politics and money work throughout the ages. Completed 2000. Entered for Patrick White award. Reviewed later by John Bell from Bell Shakespeare Company. ‘Jolly entertaining.... and a fine homage to Brecht, Shaw and Shakespeare ....It belongs to a fine tradition of Australian satire/review...I congratulate him on an original and entertaining piece’ The Gunners Tale Screen Play about William Van der Tak in the World War 1.Submitted for the.[30]

Art Criticism: Acclaimed best Art Review on artist Brett Whitely’s art and life ‘Oz Artist’s High Wire Act’ Anthology of Essays pub.[31][32] The Third Asia –Pacific Triennial Excites and Inspirers’ Nimbin News, Nov 1999 Review of Asia Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery Confronting Eastern Dragons’.[33] Lecturers Protest Painting Goes into War Memorial, Smartarz Uni magazine May 1993 On Peter Fuller: Death of Leading Art Theorist Chiaroscuro, July 1990 Delzoppo’s Dialogue, Periphery Art Magazine, issue No 6, Nov 1990 Across Cultural Lines Statement on Multiculturalism[34] In Response to Criticism (Reply to Felicity Fenner) Periphery Issue no 4, Aug 1990 Wanted! An Ecological Aesthetic For the Antipodes’ Periphery No 8 Feb 1991

Published Poetry: Upon Tienanmen Square Poem in World Anthology ‘Earth Against Heaven ’ Five Islands Press, 1990 ‘A Small Feat Cooked for my New Lover’ Suzhou, China, Smartarz June 1993 ‘Beloved Ilsa’ Published in Anthology ‘The Liquid Mirror’[35] Green Apples of Ornans ‘Winning prize North Coast Region of S.A.W. 1991 ‘An Australian Artist Confronts Chinese Ghosts’ Poems –Seven Sardonic Senryu’s Chiaroscuro, TTC May 1987 A Suite of Haiku Poems Nimbin News, March 1999 Arguments Against Over Loud Opera Singers Chiaroscuro TTC June 1987

Solo Exhibitions of Richard Cornish:[36] Cell Block Theatre, National Art School East Sydney 1967 ‘Against the Wind-One Blade of Grass’.[37] Oct 1969[38][39] Retrospective ‘Ricordanza’ exhibition Flinders University S.A. 1980 ‘Cornish and Marko Koludrovic’,[40] Tamworth March/April 1990 ‘Across Cultural Lines; Towards New Identities ’ Multicultural Exhibition,[41]

Group Exhibitions ‘Modern Art’ selected works from Sydney’s Public Schools, Inner Sydney 1955. Organised by Ken Reinhardt and Keith Molde[42] Students Exhibition 1965 Newcastle School of Art and Design, NTC student show, City Art Gallery, 1966 Mattara Art Exhibition, Civic Park, Newcastle 1965/66,[43] NSW 1964/65 May Day Art Exhibitions,[44] The Realist Group Art Exhibition, (touring Australia) Newcastle City Art Gallery, Newcastle, June 1968 Perth Prize for Drawing Perth, WA 1969 National Art School, End of the Year show-East Sydney 1966/67,[45] National Art School, selected show 1967 (my paintings admired by Dobell) Readers Digest Prize for Draftsmanship,[46] Travelling Scholarship (Won by Brett Whiteley) Art Gallery of NSW 1966 Le Gay Breton Prize for Painting,[47][48] Ashfield Art Prize, Ashfield 1967/67. Artist for Labour,[49] Art Sale for ALP Von Bertough’s Art Gallery, Cooks Hill, Newcastle 1975 7th[50] Collector Choice Art Exhibitions Von Bertough Art Gallery, Newcastle 1977, 78, 79 Sulman Prize Art Gallery of NSW 1975 Newcastle May Day Prize for Political Cartoons, Newcastle Workers Club 1983/4 Little Treasures, Big Pleasures,[51] 1991/2[52] Expression Session,[53] Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award, Grafton Regional Gallery, 1996 Living treasures Art Exhibition,.[54] Portraits of Senator Ian Cohen 1999/2000 School of Arts Art Gallery Nimbin, 12 Exhibitions on various themes.

Prizes and Grants: Grant from Australia Council to travel to China and begin a multicultural book on the history of ideas in that country and culture. 1984:[55] Grant to write autobiography 1980[56] Grant to assist in the publication of The Woman Lilith 1975 Grant from Experimental Film and TV Fund to make documentary about pollution in Newcastle region titled ‘The Corruption of Nature’, a lyric documentary 1973 Directed film ‘Lesson in Degree’ which won Hunter Valley Tertiary award from Kodak and Channel 3, 1972 Won May Day Prize for Protest Paintings on Vietnam War subjects 1968–1969 Won[57] for best draughtsmanship at Art Gallery of NSW 1967 Won Readers Digest prize for best draughtsmanship at National Art School, East Sydney 1967 Won Newcastle University Prize for Painting 1966. Richard has had 9 solo Exhibitions and 3o Group Exhibitions. Illustrated for the[58] and Greenhide, worked as graphic designer, designed book and record covers, created set designs for stage productions, worked in fabric printing etc.

Paintings in.[59] Also works are in private collections in Australia as well as Israel, India, Russia, Denmark and Great Britain. Asked to submit visual images for the Sydney Olympics with 12 other Australian artists. Videos made by students on Art, Times and Writings. Art Evaluation Criteria Art Education video with myself as main spokesperson in 45 minute, group video made at Sydney C.A.E at I.T.A.T.E Library, 1989 1968: Days of Hope 40 minutes 1989 Acting One’s Age; Four Dialogues with Time 45 minutes 1992 An Art Exhibition in Beijing inside Forbidden city (Wan Fung Gallery) is being negotiated with Assistant Director Hopkin Huang.

Works in Some Collections:.[60] Protest Paintings Against Vietnam War[61] Drawings in the.[62][63] painting from the Ruddy Bequest also works from Anne Von Bertough’s collection (pending) Art works in.[64]

Professional Appointments: 1993–2000 Teaching of Art History and Theory at.[65] 1991–3 Lecturer in Art History and Art Theory[66] Lismore, NSW. 1988–9 Teaching.[67] 1984–6 Successfully completed two years as Fractional Lecturer at.[68] Teaching Art Theory and marking students essays and dissertations at Newcastle CAE. Teaching in Art History and Art Theory.[69] 1980–2.’ Post Graduate Research Student Masters Degree research into Italian Art History On the first major crisis of European Capitalism and estrangement artists and writers. 1975–77 Art Master and Head of Art Department.[70] Teaching Cultural subjects including English and elective subjects such as introduction to Philosophy. Organised National Art exhibitions for Private schools across NSW. 1968–74 Lecturer in Art History and Art Theory as well as Practical Art subjects.[71]

Richard Cornish’s biography appears in many library around the world. From the important World Encyclopedia of Art ‘Allemeines Kunstlerlexikon’ Leipzig. ‘Who’s Who’ in Australian Art’ and the[72] ’ vol 1,2 ed 1982.’Directory of Australian Authors’,.[73] Concise’ Dictionary of Australian Artists’. Comp Gwenda Robb,Elaine Smith ed.Robert Smith,[74] ’Who’s Who of Australian Writers’ 1st ed Thorpe Pub,Victoria 2nd ed, 1995.


  1. ^ The late Professor Fredrick Hartt. US. World Renaissance specialist
  2. ^ Flinders Uni Library archives. Australia, 1983.
  3. ^ Mark Macleod, SMH,2 Aug 1975
  4. ^ Art Review, Daily Examiner, Grafton, NSW. Wed 17 Sep page 2 1997
  5. ^ Nigel Krauth, Westerly. Australia No 1, p87
  6. ^ Nigel Krauth, Bathurst Advocate, Sept 75
  7. ^ Artist Lloyd Rees, AGNSW. Sydney. Australia. 1967
  8. ^ L.V Kepert Sun Herald, Sydney, 6 July 1975
  9. ^ Anne Von Bertough, Von Bertough galley. Gallery Owner and Director. Cooks Hill. NSW
  10. ^ Geoffrey Dutton, Australian Book Publisher and Literary Historian. Correspondence of Roland Robson.1975
  11. ^ John Tittensor National Review, 11 July 1975
  12. ^ Melbourne Uni Press, 1993
  13. ^ Geoffrey Dutton, archival Letter 10thFeb 1973 Kapunda, SA
  14. ^ Elizabeth Riddell, the Australian, March 1975
  15. ^ Dora Chapman, art critic, Advertiser 24 October 1969
  16. ^ Noel Counihan, Archival Letters, Melbourne, Canterbury, Feb,1967.
  17. ^ Felicity Fenner, Periphery Issue No 3 May 1990
  18. ^ Adele Twomey, Northern Daily Leader, Tamworth 2 November 1990
  19. ^ Christine Ross, Newcastle Morning Herald, 20 October 1974 etc
  20. ^ Sydney Art Students Magazine May 1967
  21. ^ Newcastle School of Art and Design, 1973
  22. ^ Flinders University, S.A 1983
  23. ^ Southern Cross University
  24. ^ Southern Cross Uni
  25. ^ Chiaroscuro Art School magazines
  26. ^ Cleo Magazine, Winter issue ,Feb 1975
  27. ^ ANU Library 1988
  28. ^ Newcastle Uni Library, 1974
  29. ^ ABC 1995
  30. ^ Queensland Premiers competition, 2011
  31. ^ Lismore Regional Gallery, Nov 1999
  32. ^ Art Review of Asia-Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery, Nimbin News
  33. ^ Northern Star Newspaper, 1996
  34. ^ Grafton Gallery Oct 1997
  35. ^ International Library of Poetry 1997
  36. ^ National Art School, East Sydney 1966
  37. ^ Mathew Flinders Theatre Foyer Flinders Uni SA
  38. ^ Von Bertough’s Gallery, Newcastle 1974
  39. ^ Brooke Moore Gallery, Bathurst 1975
  40. ^ Tamworth City Gallery
  41. ^ Grafton Regional Gallery, NSW 1997
  42. ^ Newcastle City Art Gallery
  43. ^ Dora Creek Workers Club Art Exhibition, Dora Creek
  44. ^ Newcastle Workers Club, years 1966, 67, 68
  45. ^ Cell Block Theatre
  46. ^ National Art School, East Sydney 1967
  47. ^ Art Gallery of NSW 1967
  48. ^ David Jones Print Exhibition David Jones Gallery, Sydney 1967
  49. ^ Paddington Town Hall, Sydney 1975
  50. ^ Taree Art Exhibition Taree, NSW 1983
  51. ^ Lismore Regional Art Gallery
  52. ^ Southern Cross Staff Exhibitions, Access Gallery, Uni Campus 1990/91
  53. ^ Art Exhibition Kempsey 1995
  54. ^ Lismore Regional Art Gallery
  55. ^ South Australian Arts Department, Literature Board
  56. ^ Commonwealth Literature Board
  57. ^ Le Gay Breton Prize
  58. ^ national folk magazine Stringy Bark
  59. ^ Newcastle High School
  60. ^ Canberra War Museum, Canberra
  61. ^ Flinders University Art Collection, South Australia
  62. ^ National Art School Collection
  63. ^ East Sydney Newcastle Regional Art Gallery
  64. ^ Department of Education, Newcastle
  65. ^ Grafton, Lismore, MacLean and Murwillumbah TAFE colleges
  66. ^ University of Northern Rivers
  67. ^ Tamworth TAFE School of Art and Design
  68. ^ University of Newcastle, NSW
  69. ^ Newcastle TAFE College
  70. ^ All Saints College, Bathurst NSW
  71. ^ School of Art and Design, Newcastle TAFE, NSW
  72. ^ Australian Encyclopedia of Art
  73. ^ National Book Council, 1982
  74. ^ Melbourne Uni Press,1993

External links[edit]