Macmillan’s Albert Tucker is a pioneering venture. It is not just another well-arranged, well-printed collection of paintings by a notable painter, it is an endeavour to present the whole conspectus of a painter’s work and mind.
For it is conspectus, I think, that matters above all with Tucker. Tucker has been a highly distinguished painter here at home, and increasingly abroad, for more than years. But his work has not yet achieved that public conspectus in which his more readily accessible aspects will be seen in their ultimate best frame – the frame, that is, of Tucker’s visual dialectic of the physical and the metaphysical.
Two things in the handsome Tucker/Mollison/Bonham spread in The Age forcibly reminded me of this. The first thing was the headline – 'Tucker: Artist in Torment'; the second was Patrick McCaughey’s writing that Tucker ‘rises as few Australian artists have ever done to a tragic sense of the human condition’. The headline, I think, is misleading; the Mccaughey characterisation true indeed.